Special districts are established under the authority of a state’s statutes. In most states, districts are created by public referendum, which includes petitions, hearings and a vote of the residents within the proposed new district’s service area.
Overseeing each special district is a board comprised of trustees, directors, or commissioners, elected by their constituents to govern the district operations. In certain circumstances, a city council or county executive board may appoint special district board members. Special districts are subject to states’ sunshine laws that apply to cities, counties, and other forms of local government, as well as audits of district finances and regulatory compliance of its operations.