published Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Marion County board ratifies county line compromise with Franklin

JASPER, Tenn. — The long-running border dispute between Marion and Franklin counties has just one more hurdle before it comes to an end.

The Marion County Commission voted unanimously last week to ratify a private act establishing the exact location of the line between the two counties.

County Mayor John Graham said the Marion and Franklin boards adopted a resolution establishing a permanent border line near the end of 2013. Now that the state has approved it, the final step requires both counties to ratify what the Legislature has done.

Marion Commissioner Tommy Thompson said he wants to make sure that County Attorney Billy Gouger felt "secure" that the private act would end the border dispute once and for all.

Once Franklin's board approves the deal by a two-thirds majority vote, "it will be final," Gouger said.

He said county lines are determined by state law, and it was a "different interpretation" that was given to the old line originally described by surveyors in 1825 that caused the disagreement that has lasted for decades.

Now, that problem has been resolved, Gouger said.

"Any surveyor can go out and pick up those points that have been marked," he said. "[The line] is truly established. It's marked all the way from the northernmost border between the counties to the Alabama state line."

Commissioner Gene Hargis said he would like the border to be "a little bit farther west," but he is glad to finally see the matter put to rest.

"Without spending a lot of taxpayers' money, I think this is about our only alternative," he said.

The Franklin County Commission is expected to vote on the measure at its next regular meeting June 16.

"It'll be nice because this has been going on for 25 years," Thompson said.

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at

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