NSDC Priority Initatives
Defining "Special District"
Currently, federal law lacks a consistent definition of “special district” or “special purpose unit of government.” NSDC has led the charge since April 2020 to craft a federal definition with the primary objective to enhance districts’ access to federally funded programs (and other funding opportunities).
Ahead of an anticipated Congressional Research Service report on this topic and with open inquiries from the U.S. Census Bureau concerning districts, NSDC assembled a working group of special districts leaders from across the Coalition to develop a formal proposal for a definition.
The final definition proposal is still pending; however, there are three primary elements of how to define and consider a special district: (1) it’s status as a political subdivision of a state that (2) provides limited or specific services within specified boundary, and (3) is not a school district or other type of general purpose government.
Download a one-pager covering the need to define "special district."
Click here for a briefing and discussion guide.