Another judge will order another attempt at deposing the surveyor of the disputed Bibb-Monroe county border.
But it’s still not clear whether the surveyor, Terry Scarborough of Warner Robins, will testify about how he “recovered” the proper legal border established by legislation in the 1800s.
Asked directly if he’d testify, Scarborough turned away the question: “If they subpoena me to a deposition, they have no right to subpoena me,” Scarborough said. “I’d rather leave it to the fact that Bibb County owes me the money with the interest that’s been added on and the suffering that’s been caused.”
If Scarborough’s county line is accepted, an estimated 400 parcels with $1.3 million in taxes would shift to Monroe County.
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The Secretary of State’s Office asked one judge, and then another, to probe the facts of the border dispute. The newest judge, Special Assistant Administrative Law Judge John Sherrill, has authorized a deposition for Scarborough, but it hasn’t yet been scheduled, Bibb County Attorney Virgil Adams said.
Scarborough argues he’s done everything he needs to do, and a deposition isn’t mentioned anywhere in state law or in his contract. He skipped an earlier deposition and was saved from a second by a Monroe County appeal that echoed many of his arguments.
In the past few weeks, Scarborough has put up more information on a Web site, BibbMonroeBattle.com, showing how he determined the proper location of the Bibb-Monroe border. He also revised a bill, saying Bibb County owes him $189,305.98, counting $16,215.98 in interest. An earlier bill included more money for interest and penalties. Monroe County paid its portion of the surveying bill months ago.
The legal dispute can bring some high stakes. Scarborough’s survey found the northwestern corner of Bibb County was close to the right spot, but the northeastern corner at the Ocmulgee River was off by perhaps 800 feet. Scarborough said he found the proper corner by discovering archaeological and other evidence at Turrentine’s Ferry. The newly mapped line even slices through part of the parking lot of Bass Pro Shops. Bibb County paid for infrastructure improvements there.
In an April filing, Bibb County argued, in part, that a century of “common understanding and agreement as to the location of the boundary” between Bibb and Monroe counties established the line as both a practical and legal matter. Scarborough argues the mapped line was never correct.
Scarborough’s survey also creates an island of Bibb County surrounded by Monroe County, based on late-19th century legislation that moved a single property into Bibb County.
“They created an island, and it’s just as evident as it needs to be,” Scarborough said. “It’s the secretary’s call on what to do with it.”