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Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of special districts

Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of special districts

A lot of people do not understand the question; why are special districts created? Before you make up your mind and express your views, you should understand some of the top advantages and disadvantages of special districts. From our previous articles, you learn that special districts are created for a specific purpose in a community. For example, if there is a shortage of water in a certain area, a special district may be created to address that problem and ensure that people who pay for water services get excellent water services.

Advantages of special districts

There are a lot of advantages of special districts. Here are some of the top advantages that you need to know.

Special districts tailor services to the demand of citizens

Counties and cities must protect the health of their residents, their safety, welfare and this means that they must provide a lot of services, regardless of the demand of the residents. Special districts, on the other hand, only offer the services that the people desire.

Special districts link costs to benefits

Counties and cities, also known as general-purpose governments, levy general taxes to settle public services expenses. Taxpayers receive services that are not directly related to the taxes they pay. On the other hand, special districts benefit people who pay for services and people get services depending on the amount of tax they pay for them. Those who do not pay for services do not benefit from them.

Special districts are responsive

Another reason why are special districts needed is because they are responsive to the people they serve. The geographical area of special districts is smaller than that of cities and counties. They also have fewer residents than cities and counties and this means that they can be more responsive to the people they serve compared to cities and counties. Small groups of people can be effective in influencing the decisions of special districts.

Disadvantages of special districts

While special districts have the above advantages, they also have several disadvantages that you need to know.

Special districts can cause inefficiency

A lot of special districts offer the same types of services that counties and cities provide. Overlapping jurisdictions can create conflict and competition between special districts and between general-purpose governments and special districts. In addition, when communities incorporate, some LAFCOs fail to dissolve special districts that exist within new city boundaries. This results in duplicated services.

Regional planning can be negatively affected by special districts

Having a lot of special districts can hinder planning efforts. It can be hard to organize the various sewer, water and fire services in one geographical area to provide equitable services for residents. Districts have independent governing boards and this means that there is no single agency that can guarantee coordination of efforts.

Reduced accountability

While you have read answers to the question: why are special districts created? It is also important to understand that the multiplicity of special districts can make it hard for citizens to gather important information. Separate districts may provide sewer, water, library and other services to the same community. This makes it hard for residents to determine who is in charge of what services.

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