A Fulton County judge has ordered the Bibb-Monroe county border must be determined by a controversial survey from 2009, which would shift the line well south of where its currently marked.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kelly A. Lee has ordered Secretary of State Brian Kemp to use Terry Scarboroughs survey, which Kemp has twice rejected.
Lee said Kemp simply failed to determine the boundary line, which is part of his job. Lee rejected Kemps proposal to start the survey process over.
The residents of Monroe and Bibb Counties have lived with uncertainty concerning development, allocation of taxes and the jurisdiction of police and fire personnel for decades. These counties have been engaged in the statutory process to establish their respective boundaries since 2005.
The border war has outlived the administration of Gov. Sonny Perdue, who appointed the surveyor, and spans the administration of two secretaries of state, Lee said.
Bibb County and Kemp oppose Scarboroughs line, saying it doesnt prove the actual location of the border. Monroe County favored Scarboroughs line, which would place in Monroe County homes, infrastructure and part of the Bass Pro Shops complex, which have been in Bibb County. Taxes from the area that could be affected generate hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
In rejecting the survey, Kemp also rejected the recommendations and findings of fact of a special assistant administrative law judge who heard evidence over three days. Kemp did not attend the hearings.
Monroe County Commission Chairman Mike Bilderback said hes waiting to see whether Kemp will appeal Lees ruling, and he thinks Bibb County will continue fighting.
I expect Bibb Countys going to be filing everything they can file, he said. This has been a situation where were delaying this to the extreme. Thats how court cases are, how theyre carried out these days. Thats unfortunate, because I believe were going to prevail in the end.
Bibb County sought to intervene in the case. Lee on Wednesday rejected Bibb Countys efforts to join the case, and Bibb County was not given a copy of the judges order to use the survey.
Bibb County officials got a copy of the order from a Telegraph reporter. Bibb County Attorney Virgil Adams said Bibb County will appeal its rejection from the case to the Georgia Court of Appeals within 30 days. Adams said he also expects Kemp will appeal. Asked whether he thinks the case will land in Georgia Supreme Court -- as Bilderback predicted -- Adams chuckled.
Anythings possible with this case, Adams said.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.