Matthews official concerned taxpayer money was spent improperly to promote referendum

MATTHEWS, N.C. — A town leader in Matthews believes her colleague used taxpayer money to promote bond referendums on the ballot.

The town spent $1,750 to design a website and a logo with the message “Moving Matthews Forward.”

The logo itself doesn’t say to vote yes, but Commissioner Gina Hoover thinks that it’s implied.

Another commissioner posted on Instagram that Matthews Mayor John Higdon had magnets made to support the bonds with the logo the town paid for.

“The logo was put on the magnet,” Hoover said. “And it says, ‘Vote yes’ on there. And that is now in my opinion, the town is now endorsing to vote yes. And for me, that’s a misuse of public funds.”

“It’s hard to know exactly where the line is here,” said Chris Cooper, professor of political science at Western Carolina University. “It is a publicly available logo, right? Anybody watching, or you, or I could go there, download it and use it.”

Higdon said nothing prevents an elected official from advocating for or against a bond referendum and added, “Nothing the town has paid for advocates voting for or against the bonds. I purchased the car magnets shown on your attachment with my own personal funds.”