Bibb and Monroe counties are preparing to go to court without the deposition of the surveyor who pronounced that the county border was off by hundreds of feet.
Denied a deposition by surveyor Terry Scarborough, Virgil Adams, Bibb County’s attorney, blasted Scarborough’s work with both barrels in a May 28 letter that questioned whether the surveyor was ever close to being on the right path.
“Apart from ignoring the earlier survey, Mr. Scarborough essentially ignored the vast historical record, including early deeds, tax records, newspapers and other contemporaneous accounts, and many other historical items of evidence,” Adams wrote to Monroe County attorneys.
A three-day hearing is scheduled to begin Sept. 13. The secretary of state ultimately will decide the case. Bibb officials have estimated that they could lose about 400 parcels to Monroe County and $1.2 million in tax revenue if Scarborough’s line is accepted. The line slices through the Bass Pro Shops property, which Bibb County spent millions of dollars developing.
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In a report, Scarborough said he found evidence of a ferry that marked one corner of the border, and he matched it against a survey from 1821 and documentation from 1970. His Web site also compares the line between his 2009 survey and an official state map from 1867.
Adams argues that Scarborough found the wrong ferry site and ignored an 1823 survey done after the state created Monroe County. Scarborough has said field notes and plats of the line are missing.
Monroe County Commission Chairman James Vaughn said Bibb County has to attack the survey because that’s the only way it has a legal case. Vaughn said many of Adams’ arguments — such as the fact Scarborough and Monroe County Commissioner Michael Bilderback are cousins — have already been considered by the Secretary of State’s Office or other agencies — and were discarded.
Vaughn said Scarborough has talked with the county and has gone over his work, satisfying commissioners there. Bibb County has not paid its share of the bill, about $173,000, which Scarborough said has threatened to wreck his business. Bibb County officials said they’d pay when Scarborough gave a deposition.
A listed phone number for Scarborough’s business announces that the phone number is no longer receiving incoming calls.
Monroe County must identify its expert witnesses by June 15. Bibb County said it would call Georgia surveyors Walter G. Robillard and Robert Armstrong, and possibly Macon real estate attorney Jim Adams, who is not related to Virgil Adams.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.