Local communities lag well behind the federal government and the private sector in satisfying their residents, according to a study by Lansing, Mich.-based non-profit Cobalt Community Research and the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based CFI Group. The Cobalt Citizen Satisfaction Survey (CCSS) found that most of the dissatisfaction lies with how local tax dollars are spent.

Using the University of Michigan's American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), CCSS ranked citizen satisfaction with local communities for 2009 at 58 on a 100-point scale. The private sector received 75.7 on the ACSI scale during the last quarter of 2008, and the federal government earned a 68.9 ACSI rating in December. While the study shows residents are most satisfied with their local fire departments (ACSI rating of 78), libraries (77) and utility services (76), they said improvement is needed in their communities' economic health (48), local government (56) and public schools (61). The use of local tax dollars received 47 on the ACSI scale.

Access the Cobalt Citizen Satisfaction Survey (CCSS) study.