ATLANTA, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - The century's old border dispute between Bibb and Monroe counties made its way to the state Supreme Court on Tuesday. The high court listened to arguments regarding where the county line should fall.
It is a battle over the border and the arena is the Supreme Court of Georgia. In the latest round, the question is this: will the high court force Secretary of State Brian Kemp to use a survey of the land he threw out in 2011 to set the Bibb-Monroe border?
Back in January, Monroe County filed an appeal to Kemp's 2011 ruling. Monroe County officials asked a superior court judge to order Kemp to define the border and use the survey he rejected. During Tuesday morning's hearing, Monroe County lawyers backed their earlier argument and cited Georgia law.
"It says he shall determine the line. It's a clear, unequivocal act that he shall do," Tish McDonald, one of the attorneys representing Monroe County said. "There is nothing in either of these two statutes which affords the secretary the right to end the process without setting a line."
Kemp and Bibb County are appealing that decision. Attorneys argued the lower court overstepped its authority in its ruling.
"She couldn't mandamus him to do anything, but even if she could, she definitely could not mandamus him to set the line at a particular location," Bibb County attorney Virgil Adams said.
Adams adds moving the border creates problems for both counties.
"It will force people living in Bibb county and attending school in Bibb county to now all of a sudden be in Monroe County," Adams said. "It will disrupt garbage service, it will disrupt fire service so it will create a huge problem not only for Bibb but also Monroe."
While moving the border also moves millions of taxpayer dollars to the northern county, Monroe County Commission Chairman Mike Bilderback says there's a bigger picture.
"We're here to support the citizens and give them the protection they want for their community," Bilderback said.
Now the fate of the border rests in the high court's hands. The Supreme Court of Georgia has six months to come to a decision.
Monroe County officials says if the high court doesn't find the border in its favor, the county willing to start the whole process over again and call on the governor to foot the bill.