Independent special districts are sanctioned under California law for the performance of local governmental functions within specified boundaries. Agencies range in size from small to very large and often cross political boundary lines, such as city and county borders, to serve a common community of interest. There is a clear identification between agency name and services provided, which has resulted in a high level of accountability and responsibility to the public, and a high degree of customer satisfaction. As such, they are an integral part of local government and contribute significantly to the quality of life in the communities they serve.
There are two types of special districts: Independent and dependent.
Independent special districts are separate, local agencies, created by local petition or through popular election. Independent special districts are directly accountable to their constituents, not another layer of government.
Independent special districts are further characterized as enterprise and non-enterprise districts. Non-enterprise districts provide those governmental services on a district-wide basis which cannot be economically funded solely through user fees such as fire protection, parks and libraries. For this reason, non-enterprise districts rely primarily on a portion of local property tax revenues to fund their facilities and services. Enterprise districts, on the other hand, usually provide direct, site specific services to property within their district and may recover most or all of their service delivery costs through rates imposed on users of the service.
Dependent special districts are administrative extensions of cities or counties. They depend on another unit of government for their existence, and are only accountable to this layer of government.
Glossary of Terms
Cemetery: A burial park, for earth interments or a mausoleum, for crypt or vault interments.
Columbarium: A structure with niches for placement of urns:
Cremains: Cremated human remains.
Crypt: A chamber (as a vault) wholly or partly underground; a vault under the main floor of a church; a chamber in a mausoleum.
Endowment: A fee collected by a cemetery for perpetual care of cemetery grounds after site is full or closed and no further placements are allowed.
Entombment: The process of placing human remains in a crypt or vault.
Interment: The disposition of human remains by entombment or burial in a cemetery.
Inurnment: The process of placing cremated remains in an urn or vault.
Mausoleum:A structure or building for the entombment of human remains in a crypt or vault.
Niche: A space for placement of cremains, housed in an urn, in a wall or columbarium.
Scattering:The authorized dispersal of cremated remains at sea, in other areas of the state, or commingling in a defined area within a dedicated cemetery.