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Special district governments are independent, special-purpose governmental units (other than school district governments), that exist as separate entities with substantial administrative and fiscal independence from general-purpose local governments. As defined for Census Bureau statistics on governments, the term "special district governments" excludes school district governments.
Special district governments provide specific services that are not being supplied by existing general-purpose governments. Most perform a single function, but in some instances their enabling legislation allows them to provide several, usually related, types of services. The services provided by these districts range from such basic social needs as hospitals and fire protection to the less conspicuous tasks of mosquito abatement and upkeep of cemeteries.
The Census Bureau classification of special district governments covers a wide variety of entities, most of which are officially called districts or authorities. Not all public agencies so termed, however, represent separate governments. Many entities that carry the designation "district" or "authority" are, by law, so closely related to county, municipal, town or township, or state governments that they are classified as subordinate agencies of those governments in Census Bureau statistics on governments, and are not counted as separate special district governments.
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