Bibb may protest border

Tessa and Brandon Webb moved to the Providence subdivision in north Bibb County three years ago because they wanted their children to attend award-winning Springdale Elementary.

But now a new marker placed a few houses from theirs indicates they may actually live in Monroe County. What that means for their children, a 7-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter, is unknown, they said.

The Webbs said Wednesday that they haven’t decided how they feel about possibly living in Monroe County, but they’re open to the idea. On the positive side, property taxes should be lower, they said.

“I’m still learning about it,” Brandon Webb said.

The new markers — the result of a survey ordered by Gov. Sonny Perdue to find the long-disputed 12 1/2-mile border between the counties — have a lot of neighbors talking.

The markers, though unofficial, indicate that Bibb County is on the losing end of a border dispute with Monroe County, and Bibb officials have pledged to protest the surveyor’s demarcation of the border.

“If it remains as it is now, we will certainly fight it,” Bibb County Commission Chairman Sam Hart said.

The surveyor, Terry Scarborough from Warner Robins, said in an e-mailed statement that he is marking out and defining the line “with confidence and precision” as it was created by the state Legislature in 1822.

He said he could not comment beyond that statement or say when his report may be turned in to the Secretary of State’s Office. When he began the survey Aug. 1, he estimated it could take up to nine months to complete.

No official map of the markers’ placement has been made available to the public. The Telegraph has located 10 markers between the Bass Pro Shops complex and the intersection of Old Forsyth Road and Rivoli Drive. Based on the newspaper’s calculations, the county line appears to have moved 700 to 800 feet southeast of the current border.

The line appears to run through the Bass Pro Shops complex, an area with millions of dollars in tax revenue that in 2004 sparked a century-old debate about the location of the county line.

About 400 parcels may be affected, Bibb County Engineer Ken Sheets said at the Bibb County Commission’s Tuesday meeting.

Bibb County Attorney Virgil Adams said the county believes it has a good argument to keep the line where it is. He declined to go into details about Bibb’s argument, citing possible litigation if the county proceeds to a hearing on the matter.

Monroe County Commissioner Mike Bilderback has said Scarborough’s line is consistent with a map his county drew up a few years ago.

Once the survey is complete, it will be filed with the Secretary of State’s Office, and officials from both counties will have 30 days to contest the findings.

If no one protests, the survey becomes the new county line. In the event of a protest, there may be a hearing, and the secretary of state will determine the line based on law and evidence, according to information from the Secretary of State’s Office.

Several of the potentially affected Bibb residents said they are unsure what they think about possibly living in Monroe County.

Jeweldine Johnston, who lives on Kentucky Downs Drive, said being in Monroe would lower her taxes, but she still wonders about the quality of services, such as fire and trash pickup, that she would receive.

Others, though, said they’re happy about the potential change.

Gene Ray, who lives on Providence Boulevard, said he and his wife, Margie, actually thought about moving to Monroe County last year to save money on taxes.

“Right now we’re in Bibb, and it would put us in Monroe, which I prefer,” he said.

To contact writer Jennifer Burk, call 744-4345.