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Tensions between Haywood County and a state legislator are on the rise as commissioners called her out at a recent meeting for yet again obstructing a request for legislation that has overwhelming local bipartisan support. 

The strange saga of Haywood County Tax Collector Mike Matthews isn’t over, but for the moment the spotlight is back on the Haywood County Board of County Commissioners.

We reported last week that Haywood County Tax Collector Mike Matthews may have been showing favoritism to some local Republican leaders who were behind in their taxes. As it turns out, we were likely too narrow in that assessment. It seems Matthews may very well just not be enforcing strong and even-handed collection measures for a lot of people, not just GOP leaders.

Matthews’ job performance has been questioned since he won the tax collector election in 2014. He couldn’t get bonded, had no experience in the field, and had his own record of nonpayment of taxes. County officials who depend on those taxes were worried and immediately took steps to try and help Matthews succeed. And taxpayers who pay on time had to be worried that there taxes might have to be raised.

The rift between Haywood County commissioners and the last remaining elected tax collector in North Carolina — Mike Matthews — got a little deeper Feb. 20 when commissioners passed a resolution calling for an end to the practice of electing the position.

Haywood County Commissioners are locked in an increasingly bitter power struggle with elected Tax Collector Mike Matthews over his job performance and work habits, and there doesn’t appear to be any easy resolution to the festering dispute.

SEE ALSO: 
• Unfair collection practices in tax collector’s office?
• Comparing tax collections under Francis, Matthews
• Public comment session at next commission meeting

Matthews, a Republican who has been a lightning rod of controversy since taking office in December 2014, is the only elected tax collector in North Carolina. 

The next meeting of the Haywood County Board of Commissioners will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20, inside the Historic Courtroom of the Haywood County Courthouse, in Waynesville.

A Smoky Mountain News inquiry into collection procedures in the Haywood County tax collector’s office shows that some county GOP leaders are not being aggressively pursued for payment.

Haywood County Tax Collector Mike Matthews’ efficiency and his use of attachments to collect past due taxes have been called into question recently by county commissioners.

Haywood County Tax Collector Mike Matthews has been a lightning rod for controversy since before he narrowly defeated veteran incumbent David Francis in the 2014 election.

Haywood County Tax Collector Mike Matthews, 36, was arrested Wednesday night after failing to appear in court Oct. 20 to face charges for driving without a license and insurance.

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