Bibb County won another round in the dispute over its border with Monroe County when a judge dismissed Monroes lawsuit, but the fight is likely far from over.
Monroe County had filed a lawsuit challenging a decision by Georgias secretary of state in Bibbs favor, but that lawsuit was dismissed Friday in Fulton County Superior Court.
Bibb County Attorney Virgil Adams said the judges decision was not surprising because the law gives the secretary of state final say-so in border disputes. However, Adams says Monroe County officials only filed the lawsuit to craft a back door avenue for an appeal.
Im sure theyre going to appeal to the state Court of Appeals, he said. Theyre trying to back door an appeal because the statute that deals with border disputes does not provide for appeals.
Monroe County Commission Chairman James Vaughn did not return phone calls Tuesday seeking comment.
Bibb County was added to the lawsuit between Monroe County and Secretary of State Brian Kemp in which Monroe sought to overturn Kemps ruling that rejected a border survey favored by Monroe officials. Kemp said that two surveys should have been provided.
The borders location has been in dispute for decades. The state Legislature set the boundary in 1822, with a corner on the Ocmulgee River. The legislation is ambiguous about whether there was one ferry site or two, among other questions.
Caught in the dispute are residents, infrastructure and part of Bass Pro Shops. Kemp said the missing 1822 survey made it harder to decide where the border is supposed to be.
Kemp rejected the only survey provided, conducted by surveyor Terry Scarborough. Monroe County contended that Kemp didnt give enough credit to an assistant administrative law judge, John Sherrill, who said Scarboroughs survey was accurate and legal. Bibb County argued that Scarborough, the cousin of a former Monroe County commissioner, never searched for court records and other documents that would have changed his mind about the location.
Scarborough attempted to be added as a party to the Monroe lawsuit, but the judge ruled that because the suit had been dismissed, Scarborough was not an interested partly because there was not going to be anything to intervene in.
The Scarborough survey was launched after a Monroe County grand jury made a request to the governor to determine the location of the border. Bibb County says some Monroe County commissioners only pushed for a change in the border because of the announcement of a Bass Pro Shops store and warehouse to be placed in the disputed area.
In a filing in Fulton County Superior Court, Bibb County said that should it lose the dispute, the tax hit to the county government, county schools and unincorporated county fire tax would be exactly $1,376,591.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Rodney Manley, call 744-4623.