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Judge Gives Monroe County Win in Border Dispute | News

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Judge Gives Monroe County Win in Border Dispute
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Fulton Co. judge Kelly Amanda Lee's ruling moves the border south, shifting millions in tax dollars from Bibb to Monroe.
  • The hearing itself caught Bibb Co. officials by surprise.
  • Judge Lee dismissed Monroe County's motion for judicial review in September 2012.

A Fulton County judge on Wednesday gave Monroe County a surprise victory in its long-running border dispute with Bibb.

The ruling, if it stands would move the county border south, changing hundreds of properties from Bibb to Monroe.

NOVEMBER 2011 | Kemp Won't Reconsider Monroe-Bibb Border Ruling

Bibb County chairman Sam Hart protested, saying that they weren't notified of Wednesday's hearing and plan to challenge the decision.

According to Monroe County chairman Mike Bilderback, Superior Court Judge Kelly Amanda Lee issued a verbal decision from the bench Wednesday.

Beth Baer, an attorney in Lee's office, would not confirm or explain the ruling.

But according to Bilderback, Lee said she'll order Secretary of
State Brian Kemp to accept surveyor Terry Scarborough's finding on the
border location.

She asked Monroe County's attorneys to write up that order and submit it to her next week.

Scarborough set the Monroe-Bibb line several hundred yards south of the current line. One of the properties affected would be the Bass Pro Shops off Bass Road. Part of the property would be in Monroe County, not Bibb, if the ruling stands.

Bilderback, who was in the courtroom Wednesday, said he's cautiously optimistic with the judge's decision. But he said he won't celebrate until the order is issued and all appeals are resolved.

Bilderback said Lee determined Kemp used faulty logic in rejecting the surveyor's findings.

Kemp's office declined comment until Lee issues her ruling next week.

Meanwhile, Bibb Commission Chairman Sam Hart issued a news release that says Bibb officials were caught off guard with the judge's decision.

"Neither the commissioners nor our attorneys were ever made aware of a Mandamus action being filed nor a hearing being set. We received no notice of the Mandamus action or hearing," the release said.

"Had we been made aware of a Mandamus action and had we been served, we would have moved to intervene on behalf of Bibb County just as we did with the petition Monroe County filed before the same judge for a judicial review and in which the same judge granted our motion to dismiss in September 2012," Hart wrote.

Because Bibb officials didn't know about the proceedings, Hart said Bibb commissioners "... will take immediate steps to intervene prior to the judge issuing a final order."

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