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Special-purpose district

From Academic Kids

Generally a special-purpose district, also known as a special district, is a governmental entity differing from general-purpose districts like municipalities, counties, etc., in that they serve a special purpose only. Special-purpose districts provide specialized services only to thoses persons who live within them and are empowered to tax residents of the district, usually by a property tax but sometimes a sales tax, for the services that they proved. They often cross the lines of towns, villages and hamlets, but rarely cross city or county lines. Districts are created by legislative action or public referendum, and contain a district board which operates the district. The board serves as a district board of directors and and is usually elected by popular vote. The Board serves primarily as a legislative board and appoints a chief executive for day to day operations and decision making and policy implementation. It also retains a token judicial function in dealing with employee disciplinary matters.

Districts should not be confused with authorities which are organizationally similar but are usually required to be financially self supporting through fees and services rendered charges.

A good example of a special-purpose district would be a school district. Special districts are sometimes created to provide fire protection or sewers, or to manage water resources. In many states in the USA, school districts manage the schools. These districts are usually much more flexible than more geographically determined municipalities. All special-purpose districts are formed by some level of government in accordance with applicable state and federal laws and exist in all states.

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