Bibb to protest border with Monroe

A survey of the Monroe-Bibb county line is complete, and Bibb will protest the results, County Attorney Virgil Adams said Tuesday.

The survey and report were submitted to both counties as well as Secretary of State Karen Handel’s office Friday afternoon. Once a protest is filed — officials have until April 28 — a hearing will be scheduled at Handel’s office. State law says she will determine the 12 1/2-mile boundary.

The exact boundary between the two counties is not yet being made public. The Secretary of State’s office has refused to release the survey and report to the public, citing an obscure exemption to the state Open Records Act regarding a pending “administrative proceeding.” State officials have asked at least Bibb County to do the same.

But the fact that Bibb officials plan to protest indicates the survey, the result of a 100-year border dispute with its neighbor to the north, did not turn out favorably for the county.

“It came out like we thought it was going to come out,” Adams said, declining to elaborate.

Earlier this year, Warner Robins surveyor Terry Scarborough placed granite monuments in the northwestern part of Bibb where he appeared to be marking the county line. Based on those markers, Bibb officials at the time estimated the survey would place about 400 Bibb parcels in Monroe County.

Bibb Commission Chairman Sam Hart could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Bibb Commissioner Elmo Richardson, whose district would be affected by a move of the county line, said he has seen the survey, but he had no comment.

The Telegraph previously 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 appeared to have moved 700 to 800 feet southeast of the current border.

Monroe County Commission Chairman James Vaughn said he also has seen the survey but does not yet know its significance.

“It’s hard to tell where (the county line) is in relationship to any other line because it’s the only line on the plat,” Vaughn said. “I don’t know what it means yet. Lawyers are looking at it.”

Monroe County Attorney Michael Dillon could not be reached for comment.

Scarborough said Tuesday he is “100 percent confident” in his survey.

Although the border has been disputed off and on for years, tempers flared most recently with the announcement that the Bass Pro Shops complex was going to be built near the county line on what appeared to be the Bibb side of the border.

With millions of dollars in potential tax revenue at stake, a Monroe County grand jury asked Gov. Sonny Perdue to order a survey to verify the line.

Perdue appointed Scarborough in August 2005, but the survey failed to start until 2008 because of attempts by the counties to settle the dispute without a survey and fee negotiations.

The two counties will split the $346,180 cost of the survey.

To contact writer Jennifer Burk, call 744-4345.