Local governments are authorized by Article 6, Sections 15 through 19 of the Louisiana Constitution of 1974, and various Louisiana Revised Statutes, to create special service districts in order to provide public services for their residents. It is especially common for parish governing authorities to create special service districts to facilitate certain public services.

Services provided by these districts include but are not limited to airport, ambulance, drainage, economic development, emergency communications, fire protection, historic preservation, industrial development, land use, library, mosquito abatement, recreation, sewerage, tourism, utilities, and zoning.

Special service districts may also be created as joint ventures between two or more local governments. Depending upon the type of services provided by the special district, revenues may consist of user fees, ad valorem taxes, state revenue sharing funds, or state and federal grants.

The state of Louisiana and Louisiana local government agencies are authorized by Louisiana Revised Statutes 9:2341 – 2347 to create public trusts, such as mortgage authorities, to provide funding for public facilities and other public purposes through the issuance of bonds, notes, or other indebtedness. Public trusts are commonly used to provide funding for public housing projects and college and university dormitories. The revenue stream for the payment of debt incurred by a public trust includes interest earned on loans, interest earned on investments, and user fees or rents.

Special service districts and public trusts are subject to the oversight of the creating authority, and may be determined to be component units of the creating authority.

Most special service districts and public trusts are considered to be local auditees, and provide annual financial reports to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor.

The Louisiana Compliance Questionnaire requires special service districts and public trusts to provide statements or representations to their auditor regarding their compliance with certain provisions laws and regulations. Auditors are required to test the district’s/authority’s compliance with these laws and regulations.

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