A panel of state House lawmakers has OK’d a bill that’s meant to force an end to the border dispute between Bibb and Monroe counties, amid questions that it might not work.
State Rep. Robert Dickey, R-Musella, said that the point of his House Bill 436 is to speed an end to the costly, yearslong border dispute. His bill would take all tax revenue from the disputed area around Bass Pro Shops and set it aside in escrow until the dispute is settled. It would also force the losing side to pay the winners’ legal bills after this coming July.
But neither the group of lawyer-legislators who heard the bill on Monday nor Dickey knew the answer to a legal question: In an arcane case like this, can the rules be changed midstream?
So a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee approved the bill, but advised Dickey to figure out the answer before the full committee hears the bill.
The bill has its critics, such as Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Mallory Jones. He’s written to Dickey, asking the lawmaker to withdraw the proposal.
“Your bill, if passed, would have a devastating effect on Macon-Bibb’s ability to provide critical services to our citizens of Macon-Bibb County,” Jones wrote to Dickey. “We are already facing a potential $5 million deficit, and to tie up these tax dollars would cause a crisis in Macon-Bibb County.”
The case is now in the hands of the Georgia secretary of state. A hearing is tentatively scheduled for May.
Maggie Lee: @maggie_a_lee