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Definitions

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
A
  • Air transportation function of special districts – Construction, maintenance, operation, and support of airport facilities.

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B

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C
  • Cemetery function of special districts – Development, maintenance, operation, and support of public cemeteries.
  • County governments – Organized local governments authorized in state constitutions and statutes and established to provide general government; includes those governments designated as boroughs in Alaska, as parishes in Louisiana, and as counties in other states.

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D

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E

  • Education function of special districts – Composed almost entirely of entities that issue debt for school construction--existing only in Indiana and Pennsylvania--that finance and construct educational facilities for leasing to public school systems. This category also includes the Chicago School Finance Authority which assists the Chicago Board of Education in financing school operations. These entities do not operate schools.
  • Electric power function of special districts – Operation and maintenance of electric power system including production or acquisition and distribution of electric power.

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F

  • Fire protection function of special districts – Fire fighting organizations and auxiliary services; fire inspection and investigation; support of volunteer fire forces; and other fire prevention activities. Special district governments that provide ambulance services exclusively are classified under health.

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G

  • Gas supply function of special districts – Operation and maintenance of gas supply systems including acquisition and distribution of natural gas.
  • Government (Census Bureau's definition) – An organized entity that, in addition to having governmental character, has sufficient discretion in the management of its own affairs to distinguish it as separate from the administrative structure of any other governmental unit. See also Population of Interest.
  • Government function – Classifies the activity of a government into categories such as air transportation, corrections, and highways.

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H

  • Health function of special districts – Outpatient health services, other than hospital care, including: public health administration; research and education; categorical health programs; treatment and immunization clinics; nursing; environmental health activities such as air and water pollution control; ambulance service if provided separately from fire protection services; and other general public health activities such as mosquito abatement. Also includes financing, construction, and operation of nursing homes. Special districts engaged in sewage treatment operations are classified under sewerage.
  • Highway function of special districts – Construction, maintenance, and operation of highways, streets, and related structures, including toll highways, bridges, tunnels, ferries, street lighting, and snow and ice removal.
  • Hospital function of special districts – Financing, construction, acquisition, maintenance, or operation of hospital facilities, provision of hospital care, and support of public or private hospitals.
  • Housing and community development function of special districts – Construction and operation of housing and redevelopment projects, and other activities to promote or aid housing and community development.

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I

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J

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K

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L

  • Library function of special districts – Establishment and operation of public libraries and support of privately operated libraries.

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M

  • Municipal governments – Organized local governments authorized in state constitutions and statutes and established to provide general government for a defined area; includes those governments designated as cities, boroughs (except in Alaska), towns (except in the six New England states, Minnesota, New York, and Wisconsin), and villages. Municipal governments are distinguished from township governments primarily by the historical circumstances surrounding their incorporation.

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N

  • Natural resources function of special districts – Conservation, promotion, and development of natural resources such as soil, water, forests, minerals, and wildlife. Includes irrigation, drainage, flood control, forestry and forest fire protection, soil reclamation, soil and water conservation, and fish and game programs.

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O

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P

  • Parking facilities function of special districts – Construction, purchase, maintenance, and operation of public-use parking lots, garages, parking meters, and other distinctive parking facilities on a commercial basis.
  • Parks and recreation function of special districts – Provision and support of recreational and cultural-scientific facilities and activities including: Golf courses, playfields, playgrounds, public beaches, swimming pools, tennis courts, parks, auditoriums, stadiums, auto camps, recreation piers, marinas, botanical gardens, galleries, museums, and zoos. Also includes building and operation of convention centers and exhibition halls.

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Q

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R

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S

  • School district governments – Organized local entities providing public elementary, secondary, and/or higher education which, under state law, have sufficient administrative and fiscal autonomy to qualify as separate governments; excludes school systems run by county, municipal, township, or state governments.
  • Sewerage function of special districts – Provisions of sanitary and storm sewers and sewage disposal facilities and services.
  • Solid waste management function of special districts – Street cleaning, solid waste collection and disposal, and provision of sanitary landfills.
  • Special district governments – Organized local entities other than county, municipal, township or school district governments. Special districts are authorized by state law to provide only one or a limited number of designated functions, and with sufficient administrative and fiscal autonomy to qualify as separate governments; includes a variety of titles; such as, districts, authorities, boards, commissions, etc., as specified in the enabling state legislation.

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T

  • Township governments – Organized local governments authorized in state constitutions and statutes and established to provide general government for a defined area; includes those governments designated as towns in Connecticut, Maine (including organized plantations), Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire (including organized locations), New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin, and townships in other states. Township governments are distinguished from municipal governments primarily by the historical circumstances surrounding their incorporation.
  • Transit function of special districts - Construction, maintenance, operation and support of public mass transit systems--bus, commuter rail, light rail, or subway systems. Excluded are systems established solely to transport elementary and secondary school pupils. Ferry systems are classified under highways.

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U

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V

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W

  • Water supply function of special districts – Operation and maintenance of water supply systems including acquisition and distribution of water to the general public or to other local governments for domestic or industrial use. Acquisition and distribution of water for irrigation of agricultural lands are classified under natural resources.
  • Water transport and terminals function of special districts – Provision, construction, operation, maintenance, and support of public waterways, harbors, docks, wharves, and related marine terminal facilities.

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X

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Y

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Z

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | List & Structure of Governments | 1 (800) 242-2184 | govs.org@census.gov |  Last Revised: May 15, 2012