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What are Special Districts?

There are two types of districts—Independent and Dependent. Independent special district are separate, local agencies created by local petition or through popular election. They are directly accountable to their constituents, not another layer of government. They are further characterized as enterprise (fee-based revenue) and non-enterprise (tax-based revenue). Non-enterprise services on a district-wide basis which cannot be economically funded solely through user fees such as re protection, parks and libraries. For this reason, non-enterprise districts rely primarily on a portion of local property tax revenues to fund their facilities and services. Enterprise districts, on the other hand, usually provide direct, site specic services to property within their districts, and may recover most or all their service delivery costs through rates imposed on users of the service.

Dependent special districts are administrative extensions of cities or counties. They depend on another unit of government, such as County Board of Supervisors, for their existence and are only accountable to this other layer of government.

Special districts fill in local service gaps throughout the state, as requested by local voters. Services provided include: airport, cemetery, re protection, harbor, healthcare, irrigation, mosquito and vector control, municipal improvements, park and recreation, police, reclamation, transportation, water, wastewater treatment, and other related community services.

According to the State Legislative Analyst, Independent special districts have consistently shown the slowest rate of spending growth for the local governments. They are independently audited and subject to state and public scrutiny like other forms of local government. Further, they must report annually to the State Controller.

Districts are governed by boards of directors, elected or appointed to xed terms, and are directly accountable to the public. Boards are subject to initiative, referendum, recall, the Brown Act and  
related public agency statues. The directors are members of the communities they serve and must reside or own property with their respective service areas. They often work and interact within the community in which they reside.

We belong to The CAPC (California Association of Public Cemeteries) and The CSDA (California Special District Association). 

Our insurance carrier is SDRMA (Special District Risk Management Authority).