Special-purpose district

There are two types of special-purpose districts in the United States: school districts and special districts. This is a type of district differing from general-purpose districts like municipalities, counties, etc., in that they only serve one or a few special purposes and do not provide a broad array of services. They are common in the United States of America, where more than 35,000 districts play an important role in providing government services in every U.S. state. The U.S. Census Bureau keeps counts and data on these districts.

Special-purpose districts provide specialized services only to those persons who live within them. Special districts possess fiscal and administrative autonomy. They often are empowered to tax residents of the district, usually by a property tax but sometimes an excise or sales tax, for the services that they provide. They often cross the lines of towns, villages, and hamlets but less frequently cross city or county lines. Increasingly, however, regional special districts are being created that may serve a large portion of a state or portions of more than one state.

Districts are created by legislative action, court action, or public referendum and are governed by a board of directors, commissioners, supervisors, or the like. The board serves as a district board of directors and may be appointed by public officials, appointed by private entities, popularly elected, or elected by benefited citizens (typically property owners). Sometimes, one or more public officials will serve ex officio on the board. Also, the board of a private entity may serve as the board of a special district (however, such a board could not be given the power to set a tax). The board serves primarily as a legislative board and appoints a chief executive for day to day operations and decision making and policy implementation. Most districts have employees, but some districts exist solely to raise funds by issuing bonds and/or by providing tax increment financing.

Districts typically have some corporate powers. They must be able to set their own budget without line item modification by another government. The authorizing legislation may give them the power to tax, issue bonds, or set fees; and/or the authorizing legislation may establish revenues via taxes or fees on behalf of the district; and/or the authorizing legislation may require contributions by participating local governments.

Special districts are sometimes created to provide fire protection, sewer service, transit service or to manage water resources, among many other possible functions. In many states in the USA, school districts operate the public schools (as opposed to dependent school systems, which are dependent on the state or a local government for administrative and/or fiscal direction). All special-purpose districts are founded by some level of government in accordance with state law and exist in all states.

Types

*Beach district
*Community college district
*Community service district
*Conservation district
*Electricity district
*Emergency services district (emergency medical, firefighting)
*Fire protection district
*Highway district (historic UK) or Road commission (Michigan)
*Hospital district
*Mosquito abatement district
*Library district
*Open space district
*Parks and recreation district
*Poor law union
*Port authority
*Public utility district
*Reclamation district
*Sanitary district (historic UK)
*School district
*Transit district
*Vector control district
*Water district

Examples

*Fayette County Conservation District, Lexington, Kentucky
*Los Angeles Community College District, California
*Metro, Portland metropolitan area, Oregon
*Metropolitan School District of Perry Township, Indianapolis, Indiana
*Metropolitan Board of Works, London, England
*Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
*Miami Valley Regional Transit Authority, Dayton, Ohio
*Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, California
*Nebraska Public Power District
*Orange County Water District, California
*Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New York City
*Reedy Creek Improvement District, which includes the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida
*York Rural Sanitary District, Yorkshire, England
*Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Washington, D.C.

ee also

*authority
*business improvement district
*interstate compact
*Municipal Authority (Pennsylvania)
*municipality
*off-budget enterprise
*political science
*quasi-autonomous non-government organisation
*residential community association

References

* [http://www.csda.net/ California Special Districts Association]


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