Secretary of State Brian Kemp argues the trial court has exceed its authority by restricting the evidence he may consider before determining where the boundaries are as he’s required to do by law.
"Where’s the line? Where does Macon-Bibb’s planning and zoning end and ours begin?" Monroe County Commission Chair Mike Bilderback asks.
It seems that’s the multi-million dollar question.
As development continues near Bass Road bringing in millions in property and sales tax dollars for Macon-Bibb, Monroe County leaders say they should receive the profits.
"This whole delay, it puts a burden on us and it should have been solved years ago," Bilderback says.
Attorneys for both Monroe and Macon-Bibb argued why Secretary of State Brian Kemp should or shouldn’t have time to look over new evidence.
"It was not reliable, it was not accurate. They didn’t search a lot of historical documents that we did," Macon-Bibb attorney Virgil Adams says.
"He’s obligated to make a decision and make a timely one because I want to remind everyone, we work for the taxpayers," Bilderback says.
Kemp threw out a land survey by a governor appointed surveyor after determining in the document, a portion of land would leave an island of what’s currently considered Bibb County in Monroe.
"You don’t have to be a lawyer, rocket scientist, or anyone for that matter to understand that that’s just crazy, an island of one county in another county," Adams says.
Monroe attorneys and a trial judge say Kemp has had enough time to make the call.
"Our argument is simple. The body of evidence is large enough to make decisions. The code section says that he’s supposed to make a decision based on the evidence that he has not that he wants," Bilderback says.
"That’s ludicrous. Every trial judge across the state has discretion to use as many times as he or she wants to during the course of a proceeding," Adams argues.
Macon-Bibb attorneys say there’s new evidence that could change where the county line falls and there needs to be an opportunity for Kemp to review the information.
"When you boil this down to it’s simplest form. The court told the trial judge that you can tell the secretary of state to play the game. You can make him play the game, but you can’t call the plays for him," Adams says.
Monroe leaders say the approximate $4-$6 million they’re missing out on could go toward the county’s hospital or road repairs. Monroe attorneys argue the trial court judge did not go beyond its authority and don’t want to re-open the records.
"At this point, it looks like desperation. We don’t want to make it convoluted by any and everything that might be presented," Bilderback says.
"He doesn’t know where it is, but he knows where it isn’t. It isn’t where the survey says," Adams says.
Adams says it’s possible the secretary may have to decide the line based on the survey he’s already reject, but it’s up tot he state supreme court to determine the ruling in the next three to six months.