State law defines a special district as “any agency of the State
for local performance of governmental or proprietary functions
within limited boundaries” (Government Code 1627[d]). Basically,
a special district is a separate local governmental agency formed
to provide local services.
Inadequate tax bases and competing demands for existing tax
dollars make it hard for cities and counties to provide all of
the services their citizens desire. When residents or landowners
want new or higher levels of existing services, they form special
districts to pay for them.
San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District is an
independent special district, which means it is a type of local
government that delivers specific services to citizens within its
boundaries under the guidance of its own Board of Trustees. The
Board of Trustees for SMCMVCD consists of one resident from each
city, appointed by their respective City Council, to govern the
Mosquito and Vector Control District knowledgeably and
effectively. They serve for a term of two or four years and are
highly dedicated to this community service.
About two-thirds of the state’s special districts are independent
districts. Examples of special districts are fire protection,
police protection, water districts, harbor districts, school
districts and open space. Districts, such as ours, are in
existence today because taxpayers were willing to pay for public
services they wanted and needed.
Advantages of Having a Special District
Special districts can tailor services to citizen demand
Cities and counties must protect their residents’ health, safety,
and welfare and thus, must provide many services, regardless of
citizen demand. Special districts, however, only provide the
services that the community desires.
Special districts can link costs to benefits
General purpose local governments (cities and counties) levy
general taxes to pay for public services. The services that
taxpayers receive are not directly related to the amount of taxes
they pay. In a special district, only those who benefit from
district services pay for them.
Special districts are responsive to their constituents
Because most special districts are geographically smaller and
have fewer residents than counties and cities, they can be more
responsive to their constituents. Small groups of citizens can be
quite effective in influencing special districts’ decisions.
How Your Tax Amount is Figured
If you live in one of the 13 cities that made up our original
service boundary (Atherton, Belmont, Burlingame, Foster City,
Hillsborough, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Portola Valley, Redwood City,
San Carlos, San Mateo, Woodside and San Mateo County at-large), a
special election was passed in May 1982 by the citizens of these
cities allowing for a Special Mosquito Control Tax. The cost for
this special tax is a maximum amount of $3.74 per parcel to be
charged each tax year. Along with the $3.74 per parcel amount,
0.0000185505 of each property tax dollar for this area is
delineated for use by Mosquito and Vector Control.
If you live in the newly annexed areas of Brisbane, Colma, Daly
City, Half Moon Bay, Pacifica, San Bruno, South San Francisco and
any unincorporated coastal areas in San Mateo County, a benefit
assessment was voted on and passed by your citizens in January
2004. The benefit assessment amount was established at $15.00 per
SFE (single family equivalent) per tax year. Factors to determine
costs for multi-benefit dwellings (agricultural, commercial or
multi-resident properties) are adjusted by the factors of acreage
and benefit received by the entire property. All benefit amounts
in these cities are allowed an annual cost of living adjustment
(COLA) based on the SF-Oakland-San Jose, All Urban Consumers
Price Index rate published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.