Bibb-Monroe border hearing delayed again

A long-simmering border dispute between Bibb and Monroe counties has suffered another delay.

Millions of dollars in infrastructure and taxes -- plus residents’ lives -- are affected by the fight.

A hearing planned for next week will have to be delayed again because of illness of an involved party, and no new date has been scheduled. It’s the second delay for a hearing that was supposed to have taken place in September.

John Sherrill, who is acting as a judge in the case, will make a recommendation about whether to accept a surveyor’s new line. If that new line is accepted, the new line would shift homes and businesses from what’s now thought to be Bibb County into Monroe County.

Sherrill’s recommendation will go to Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who ultimately has to decide the case. Sherrill had said earlier he expected a decision could come about two months after a hearing.

Previous Secretary of State Karen Handel commissioned the survey. Terry Scarborough, of Warner Robins, won the contract and was paid by Monroe County, but not Bibb County, which wanted him to testify in a deposition before it paid him.

Scarborough said in a September 2009 letter to the Secretary of State’s Office that the lack of payment was destroying his business. Scarborough’s business and home phone numbers have been disconnected. His home of 20 years, which he’d transferred to Scarborough Land Surveys Inc. in 1994, was foreclosed on last year.

Scarborough’s survey calls for a straight line along nearly all of the border.

The border in use today is not a straight line. Scarborough has said the northeast Bibb County corner, set at a ferry site, had been inappropriately shifted too far to the north.

Bibb County’s attorneys attacked that line, saying Scarborough had mistaken something else for the ferry site.

Scarborough’s line cuts through the parking lot of Bass Pro Shops. Bibb County placed expensive infrastructure in that area to lure the business and get ready for others.

To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.