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What is a Special District?


  • IT IS the community; a grassroots government in its simplest form
  • IT IS a government formed by local residents to provide specific local services
  • IT IS a government that is single-service oriented and proven to be the most responsive to the people it serves
  • IT IS a single-layer form of government responsible directly to the people
  • IT IS a government where residents have direct access to, and is run by, locally elected board members
  • IT IS a government whose projects and services are influenced by local residents
  • IT IS a government that is administered by a professionally trained manager
  • IT IS a government that uses specific funds authorized by vote of the people and dedicated to delivering special services
  • IT IS a government that derives its authority from the California Government Codes

Independent Special Districts have been anticipating the needs of Ventura County residents since 1918. That's another SPECIAL DISTRICT ADVANTAGE!


Many people ask - Why an Independent Special District? What is an Independent Special District? People who really know how special districts work respond by saying - Why not an Independent Special District? There are distinct advantages to the special district form of government over other forms of government. For one, special districts are "independent" from the many layers of bureaucracy encountered with general purpose forms of government, which makes special districts quicker to respond to customer needs. Special districts are a direct expression of Americans' independent, can-do spirit.

That is why Independent Special Districts are most often created when a newly formed community is faced with the challenge of determining what kind of public agency should govern their local services. Special districts provide highly specialized, quality services, and are synonymous with a high quality life style. Special districts are formed as a direct response to the desire of local residents to meet specific needs. All of this adds up to The SPECIAL DISTRICT ADVANTAGE.

Under California Law a Special District can be formed to provide services to the public when there is a need that is not being provided by a City or County. Upon an affirmative vote of the public within proposed boundaries the District and its tax rate is established.

Special Districts are generally single purpose in nature, governed by a publicly elected Board of Directors who make policy decisions as well as financial and management decisions to provide guidance to the employed staff of the District.

A District that is governed by a City or County is termed as a Dependent District and its members may be the City Council or Board of Supervisors.

Independent Special Districts have a history of staying within the budgeted expenditures and do not incur deficits or a need to increase tax rates. Because they are "grass root" governmental agencies they are very responsive to the public they serve and are probably the most efficient form of government in California.


  • FORMED by local residents to provide local services,
  • ADMINISTERED by a professional manager.
  • LOCALLY ELECTED board of directors.
  • SELF-GOVERNED agencies.
  • PROJECTS are influenced by local residents.
  • RESPONSIBLE directly to the people.
  • SIMPLEST form of local government.
  • POWER derived from the State of California Government Codes.
  • NON-PROFIT operated.
  • GRASS ROOTS form of government.


Click here for a Citizen’s Guide to Special Districts in California publication.