A judge has handed Monroe County a victory in a long-simmering border dispute with neighboring Bibb County.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kelly Lee on Wednesday ordered Secretary of State Brian Kemp to set the Bibb-Monroe county border south of where it's now marked, The Telegraph newspaper in Macon reported.
The judge ordered Kemp to use a controversial 2009 survey he has rejected multiple times. Monroe County first appealed Kemp's rejection to the secretary of state himself, filed an unsuccessful lawsuit in Fulton County, and then filed another suit that resulted in Wednesday's decision, the paper said.
This particular legal fight pitted Monroe County against Kemp's office. Bibb County officials said after the ruling they weren't aware of the case, but will try to intervene before a final order is issued. "Because we had no notice of these proceedings, we will take immediate steps to intervene prior to the Judge issuing a final order," Bibb County Commission Chairman Sam Hart said in a statement.
The border's location has been in question since at least the 1940s and stems from disputed ferry locations and a since-lost survey done shortly after the border was established in 1822. At stake is millions of dollars in tax revenue from land that's been increasing in value. The land in dispute includes part of a subdivision, part of a shopping center parking lot and other infrastructure.
Bibb County and Kemp oppose the line from the 2009 survey because they say it didn't prove where the border actually is. Monroe favored that line, which would put profitable property under its control.
Monroe County Chairman Mike Bilderback had opposed further legal measures if the most recent court case failed, saying the county has spent more than $2 million on the case.