Special Districts in Marin

Roy Given, Department of Finance

Special districts are a type of local government created by a local community to meet a specific public need for services such as water, sewage, fire, flood control, libraries, and other community services. Special districts have governing powers that are similar to cities and counties and are usually formed to provide specific or related services. Independent special districts are governed by an independent board of directors that are usually elected by the district's voters. Dependent special districts are governed by other existing legislative bodies such as a city council or county board of supervisors.

Sources of funding for special districts vary depending on the type of district. Enterprise districts operate like a business and are financed primarily by charging fees for services, as is the case with hospital, sanitation and water districts. Non-enterprise districts, such as fire and police protection, libraries, parks, generally benefit an entire community and receive the majority of their funding through property taxes, but may charge some fees for services. Both types of district are allowed to issue general obligation bonds or revenue bonds to help pay for capital improvements.

Special districts are primarily accountable to the voters who elect their board of directors and the customers who use their services. Special districts must submit annual financial reports to the State Controller and must also follow state laws pertaining to public meetings, bonded debt, record keeping and elections. The State Controller does not maintain oversight or audit responsibilities for special districts.

Until recently, a comprehensive list of all of the Special Districts in Marin County did not exist and residents did not have centralized access to information related to special districts that operate in their communities. The County of Marin has developed a web page listing all Special Districts in Marin including contact information and a link to the Marin LAFCO website for Districts that fall within Marin LAFCO's jurisdiction. To access the listing, please select the link below.

What is LAFCO? Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) is a local agency mandated by the State legislature to:

  • Encourage the orderly formation of local governmental agencies including special districts
  • To preserve agricultural land resources
  • To discourage urban sprawl

Today there is a LAFCO in every county in California. Marin LAFCO currently oversees 65 local government agencies including 11 cities and 54 special districts.

View Special District contact information.

View general information for Special Districts under the Board of Supervisors.

Visit the California Special Districts Association web page for more information.


Please Note: All phone numbers and email addresses were provided by the individual Special District at the time of this web posting.