All You Need to Know About the Actual Definition of Special Districts in the US

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Special districts in North Carolina and anywhere else around the US, which are also called by several other names, are self-purpose, independent units of government that exist separately from other forms of local governments like township, municipal, and county governments. They are granted substantial fiscal and administrative independence. They are typically created to undertake a single function of a set of functions that are related. The US Census Bureau excludes school districts in the definition of the term.


The areas served by these districts are limited and they feature governing boards that undertake functions that are legislatively assigned using public funds. The districts offer specialized services to individuals residing within a marked geographical area and could even contract to offer services outside the designated area. Often, these districts cross lines of hamlets, villages, and towns but less often cross county or city lines. Nevertheless, progressively more districts that could serve a large part of a state or parts of more than a single state, are being created.

Governing body

Each district is governed by an administrative team that comprises commissioners, a board of directors, board of supervisors, and so on. These boards could be appointed by private entities, public officials, elected by benefited citizens (normally, owners of properties), or even popularly elected. One or more public officials will sometimes serve as ex-officio members on a district’s board. This is among the foremost reasons for the transparency found in special districts in North Carolina.

The boards of these districts serve primarily as managing boards and frequently appoint a chief executive for decision making and everyday operations as well as the implementation of policies. In some states, these districts are frequently run in the same manner that town meetings run as in other local governments. Majority of districts have employees, but some of them exist for the single purpose of raising funds via the issuance of bonds or/and offering of tax increment financing.

Public foundation

Similar to other public entities, these districts feature public foundations. The United State Supreme Court’s landmark case that addressed private versus public charters was Dartmouth College versus Woodward which was heard in 1819. Dartmouth was able to establish the crucial differences that existed between private and public organizations. Critically, any government has to be founded by all those residing in any governmental area, or by those they have chosen to be their governmental representatives.

Civil office

These districts feature some kind of civil office; that means the state has given the board a delegation of sovereign power. Some boards might be appointed by just landowners to handle the district. Private entities could appoint some or even all members of a district; nevertheless, there has to be proof of civil office. Aside districts that feature privately appointed boards, a district could have a board that’s privately appointed; nevertheless, such a board might not be given the power to set taxes.

In concluding, this is all that you need to know about the real definition of special districts in North Carolina and the US as a whole. They are entities that are truly helping communities so they get value for their tax quickly.