Warren Stemme, president of the Howard Bend Levee District, said in an email that tax rates are set at public levee board meetings and reassessments are made through the courts. Landowners are given two notices of the process and have the opportunity to appeal.
“The board of supervisors operates with the highest ethics, and the accusations of fraud and abuse are untrue and offensive,” he wrote.
Levee districts regularly charge assessments on tax exempt lands — those owned by cities, counties, even the state highway department.
In Howard Bend, taxpayers and utility ratepayers across the region are paying into the district. The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District has a massive treatment plant on the Missouri River there. Its assessment rose to $477,370 this year from $296,714 last year — a 60% jump.
St. Louis has a water treatment plant in the district and the city utility