What is a Special District?

Excerpt from "What's So Special About Special Districts?" A Citizen's Guide to Special Districts in California," Fourth Edition, October 2010.

What is a special district?

State law defines a special district as "any agency of the state for the local performance of governmental or proprietary functions within limited boundaries." In plain language, a special district is a separate local government that delivers a limited number of public services to a geographically limited area. Special districts have four distinguishing characteristics.
Special districts:

  • Are a form of government.
  • Have a governing boards.
  • Provide services and facilities.
  • Has defined boundaries.

Special District Fact Sheet

California Special Districts Association mapping program