Over a quarter of California's independent special districts are enterprise districts. Enterprise districts operate much like a business, charging customers for their services. An example would be a hospital district charging room fees just to their patients, not the district's other residents. Water districts charge water rates to their customers. Virtually all water, waste and hospital districts are enterprise districts.
Non-enterprise districts provide services that don't lend themselves to fees because they benefit the entire community, not just certain residents. These districts provide services like parks, fire and police protection, libraries, pest abatement, and cemeteries. They rely overwhelmingly on property taxes to fund their operating budgets. Some non-enterprise districts like parks and libraries may charge fees for certain services, however, these fees typically generate very little revenue.
Both enterprise and non-enterprise districts can issue either general obligation or revenue bonds to help pay for capital improvements.