Special-purpose districts, English custom

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Summary

Special-purpose districts or special district governments in the United States are independent governmental units that exists separately from, and with substantial administrative and fiscal independence from, general purpose local governments such as county, municipal, and township governments. As defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, the term special district governments excludes school districts. In 2007, the U.S. had more than 39,000 special district governments.

Details

Special districts in the United States follow the English custom. The earliest known general law in England authorizing special purpose authorities was the Statute of Sewers of 1532.Webb, S.(1922). English local government: Statutory authorities for special purposes. p. 61. Available as e-book. Single purpose authorities created by individual charters also existed at the time. However, the early authorities were temporary and unconnected to local government structure. The first laws authorizing permanent authorities connected to local governments were the Incorporated Guardians of the Poor, which were created by special acts in the 17th century. Turnpike trusts were an early and popular special purpose authority in England.

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External Links

  • WikipediaA Citizen's Guide to Special Districts in CaliforniaCalifornia Special Districts AssociationU.S. Census BureauU.S. Census Bureau/Governments Organization/Volume 1Government Accounting Standards Board

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