About Special Districts

Special Districts are mission critical, local community units that address specific community needs and provide and maintain single-focused infrastructure and services, such as water and road management, fire rescue and safety, health care services, community development, housing and more. Special Districts act on behalf of their constituency when the local governing body, such as a country or city, is  unable to provide the necessary funds for a service that is critical to their community.

  • Fiscally Responsible: Special Districts are fiscally responsible governing boards that are committed to being good stewards of taxpayer dollars through responsible and lean budgets decision-making. In general, Special Districts spend less on general and administrative expenses than do their counterparts, cities and counties.
  • Accountable: Independent Special Districts have strong levels of accountability with the vast majority of board members elected by voters in their community. Most of the remaining board members are appointed by the Governor or by other elected officials, thereby, providing ultimate accountability to the electorate.
  • Transparent: Special Districts are limited in how they can spend taxpayer dollars and are required to be transparent in their financial processes. Special Districts are also subject to Florida’s Sunshine, public record, financial disclosure and ethic laws.
  • Community-focused: Special Districts are community-focused and mission-critical governing boards that address specific community needs, and provide and maintain infrastructure and service needs important for area residents.
  • Single-purpose Districts: Special Districts usually serve only a single-purpose and help Floridians when local or state-government were either unable or unwilling to provide crucial services or programs to a community.

Key Facts:

  • Special Districts have a long history of being a part of the fabric of local communities, and in many instances, have a record of providing critical services to area residents even before municipalities and other units of local government existed.
  • Only residents who directly benefit from the services provided by Special Districts are assessed ad valorem taxes or fees.
  • The most effective government is closest to the people and serves the people best. Special Districts are the best example of small, limited form of government that is directly responsive to the immediate needs of a community.
  • If residents feel that Special Districts have failed to deliver on the services expected, they can elect new board members or urge the Governor to appoint new board members.
  • Special Districts offer limited and targeted services that general-purpose local or state government have been unable to provided to a community.

More information about Special Districts:

Check out the Map of Florida’s Special Districts, provided by Northern Palm Beach County Improvement District. Blue dots are FASD Members!

View the FL Department of Economic Opportunity’s Special District Accountability Program.

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