Angela Matthews


Iredell Free News asked each of the Republican candidates in the upcoming primary election for three seats on the Iredell County Board of Commissioners a series of questions about important issues.

Challenger Angela Matthews is one of seven candidates in the March 5 primary. Here are her answers:

IFN: The Board of Commissioners has been criticized for not making a larger cut to the property tax rate following the significant increase in property values. What is your view on this? If you believe the rate should have been cut further, would you have cut services, staff, school funding, capital expenses or elsewhere — or used money from the fund balance to offset cuts to tax rate? Please explain your answer.

MATTHEWS: Our 2023-2024 county budget increased 26 percent from the previous year. In comparison to the nine contiguous counties surrounding Iredell, Davie was the highest with a 10 percent increase, while several counties had little or no increase. We can all agree that our county is growing, ranking third fastest economically in our region. Having said that, we do have additional obligations that come with that type of growth. I do not believe that we can cut any services, as we are already struggling to keep up and are short staffed in some departments. I will say some funds were included in that budget for certain county projects that may and have been placed on hold for now. In my opinion, we have to prioritize what expenditures are necessary and required by either the constitution or state law. My goal will be to continue providing the highest level of services to the members of this county, while keeping the tax rate as low as possible. I will also advocate for alternative revenue sources, including an emphasis on attracting more growth commercially. Companies that operate within our county pay property tax not only on their buildings and land, but also personal property tax on the equipment used in their daily operations. These companies will pay in more of the funds needed to operate our county and as a result will allow us to lower the residential property taxes for the citizens.

IFN: In your view, what are the county’s most pressing capital projects? What are your priorities? How would you pay for these?

MATTHEWS: The most pressing capital projects currently are our need for schools. Several of our schools are at capacity, and there are only so many students a building can safely hold. The county commissioners are required by the state to supply the funds necessary to build the schools. We must be diligent and mindful when selecting locations and designs for our schools because they are expensive to build. The need for additional schools is a direct result of the growth we are seeing within the county. It is unfortunate that we cannot impose impact fees to residential developers building these larger neighborhoods. We can, however, adjust our permit fees and allow these builders to assist the county with meeting these needs. About 36 percent of the 2023-2024 budget is expended for the operations of our schools. This number does not include capital expenditures. I would like to see our county continue to apply for grants and other funding sources to help us fulfill the requirements set forth by the state.

IFN: Per pupil funding for I-SS ranks near the bottom of public school districts. Do you believe the Board of Commissioners adequately funds operations and the capital needs of Iredell-Statesville Schools, Mooresville Graded Schools and Mooresville Community College? If you would increase funding, how would you pay for it?

MATTHEWS: Yes I do believe the Board of Commissioners adequately funds our school system. I previously mentioned that 36 percent of our current budget is allocated to education, excluding capital additions. Mooresville Graded Schools actually has an advantage over Iredell-Statesville Schools because they assess a local school tax, in addition to the county property tax. This tax was signed into law in 1905 and only 11 districts in the state are allowed to assess this type of tax. In 2023, Iredell County ranked 32nd out of the 100 counties for base local appropriations. Considering the diversity of our county in both population and wealth, I believe we have a strong school system that provides for the needs of the children of this county. We have many programs that cater to the uniqueness of the individual student, such as IB, CCTL & CATS. I will work with our state legislators to advocate for more funding from the state and federal governments.

IFN: Do you think commissioners adequately fund parks and recreation? Would you support an increase or cuts to this department?

MATTHEWS: Parks and recreational activities are important with regards to establishing and maintaining the quality of life here in our community. By adequately funding this department, we encourage and support the health of families and our youth as well as contribute to the economic and environmental well being of the community. Growing up here in Iredell, I was fortunate enough to participate in the county youth soccer and basketball programs. The skills I learned from being on those teams has remained with me today as an adult. So many children do not have strong support systems due to a variety of reasons and being a part of a team is what helps build their self-esteem and confidence. I genuinely believe we must continue to fund parks and recreation at or more than the current amount. I see this funding as an investment in our children as well as our county’s future. From a personal perspective, the more positivity we give to our youth, the more our community will benefit when those youth become adults. From an economic perspective, promoting team sports and tournaments makes sense. Our county will attract visitors from other counties who also participate in these activities and in turn, bring additional revenue to the county in the form of sales and occupancy taxes. These revenues are vital to maintain the county services and play a role in our ability to lower county property taxes.

IFN: Voters will decide in March whether to continue the practice of rewarding the top two vote-getters in the Board of Commissioners election with four-year terms and the third-place finisher with a two-year term OR having staggered elections with four-year terms for all seats. Do you support this? Why or why not?

MATTHEWS: At times, a fresh face is the best answer for a county that may be facing some issues that don’t seem to get resolved. Two-year terms may be the solution to making sure folks who aren’t delivering on their promises are being held accountable. However, upon further consideration, in my opinion, four-year terms give candidates more time to learn the ins and outs of their position. Even the most educated and up-to-speed candidates will go through a training or learning process once elected. Four-year terms allow for experience that can help them to be more effective in their roles. Not to mention that a commissioner up for re-election every two years spends almost all of his or her time running for elections. This can be a distraction from governing and take the focus away from the tough decisions which need their immediate attention. Ultimately, I am content with the two four-year terms and the one two-year term. I will work hard for the residents of Iredell County and feel confident I would be re-elected based on performance. Placing this decision in the hands of the voters is the proper way to address the issue, allowing the majority to voice their preference.

I am a proponent of staggered elections because I believe it is critical that some experienced leaders remain on the board. The possibility of an entire board changing its members during one election cycle could be catastrophic economically for the county.

IFN: Why are you the best choice among the Republican candidates in the March 5 primary?

MATTHEWS: I am the best candidate for the Iredell County Board of Commissioners for many reasons. Having been born in Iredell, raised here and a current small business owner, I have a vested interest in this county. My children and granddaughter live here, and it is important to me that we make the best decisions for those who depend on us for their well being. I am a Certified Public Accountant and have more than 26 years experience in accounting, including a background in governmental and nonprofit accounting. The Board of Commissioners oversee the county’s $323 million annual budget, and local government should be operated just like any other business. Cutting waste and maximizing each dollar are important. Daily, I work to ensure that my clients are operating their businesses efficiently and effectively. I assist with budget preparation and operational analysis and search for opportunities to improve and grow their businesses. I intend to take my educational background and real world experience and put it to use on this board, working with the other four elected members to think outside of the box and explore new options for additional revenue streams for the county that do not include raising taxes. I intend to offer alternatives that will allow the county to reduce taxes.  I have observed alternatives being used in other parts of the state that work and help fill the monetary gaps that sometimes exist between the needs of a county and the funds currently available. Lastly, I am running for this office because I want to make things better. Many times, candidates will run for an office for all the wrong reasons. I have served this community my entire adult life in a variety of capacities. Giving back and helping people is something that comes natural to me. Our county is growing and changing rapidly. This election is just as important at the local level as it is at the federal level. We must put our strongest leaders in these positions so that the best interests of the people they serve will always be the highest priority.


Matthews announces campaign for seat on Iredell County Board of Commissioners

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