Monroe, Bibb border dispute hearing at state capitol enters day two
ATLANTA, Ga. -- As the evidence hearings to help settle a border dispute between Monroe and Bibb County entered the second and final day at the state capitol, the Secretary of State heard from witnesses from both sides who discussed historical evidence about the establishment of the county line.
The more than 100-year-old border dispute revolves around tax dollars, and boils down to what county the Bass Pro Shops is located in. Monroe County argues that the store, and therefore its millions in tax revenue, is located on the Monroe County side of the border while officials from Bibb County argue the opposite.
See coverage of day one of the hearing here.
Thursday morning, Monroe County called witnesses who claimed to have the correct historical interpretation of where the county line was intended to be.
Experts delved through documents from the establishment of the counties, such as newspaper articles from the 1820s, items and minutes from the General Assembly and old road commission minutes. One main point of contention has come to be the location of a ferry on the Ocmulgee River.
Witnesses have claimed that in 1822, the General Assembly commissioned a survey to make maps of the counties. The General Assembly defined the border between Bibb and Monroe to be between a certain point and "Waller's Ferry or Torintine's Ferry."
Monroe County witnesses, such as Jeff Lucas, who testified Thursday, believe that the two ferries referenced in the ferry are actually one ferry with two names. Lucas claimed that this is the case because it does not make sense to give a surveyor a choice of which ferry to use as reference.
Lucas stated that his interpretation of the ferry issue matches up with a new survey commissioned more recently. He insisted that any other conflicting surveys from Bibb County had severe flaws in their interpretation of historical markers and documents.
The Bibb County attorneys cross examined him and asked him about his historical interpretation of the documents trying to see if there were inconsistencies between his interpretation and theirs.
Despite the two-day hearing, officials were not able to come to a conclusion about the border because a key witness was missing. Terry Scarborough, a land surveyor, was commissioned by Gov. Sonny Perdue in 2005 to survey the land and draw a line between the counties. His survey was referred to in the hearing several times.
However, despite being subpoenaed, Scarborough did not appear.
Therefore, the secretary of state determined that closing arguments in the dispute would have to be postponed until a later date when Scarborough could be compelled to be present to testify.