Lafayette Parish will keep fighting the border war against its southern neighbor.
The City-Parish Council on Tuesday killed a proposal by Councilman Jared Bellard to end a long-running legal feud with Vermilion Parish over the location of the parish line.
Bellard sought to drop Lafayette’s lawsuit seeking to void a 2002 agreement between the parishes on where the boundary should be, arguing city-parish government should stop spending money on attorneys after the state 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal last month upheld a ruling favoring the Vermilion Parish Police Jury in the dispute.
“It’s time for us to make amends with the Police Jury, accept the findings and move on,” Bellard said in an earlier interview.
Neither he nor any other councilmen discussed the measure on Tuesday before it died with a 4-3 vote that came shortly after council members discussed the litigation in a closed-door executive session.
Councilman Don Bertrand, a critic of the boundary, was absent from Tuesday’s meeting on a delayed honeymoon, but he sent an email to his fellow council members urging them to defeat Bellard’s proposal and to take the boundary case to the state Supreme Court.
“When we took this on, we knew we may have to go the whole distance in order to have Louisiana state law applied, and may I say ‘applied correctly,’ as a policy matter,” Bertrand wrote.
Questions about the precise boundary between the two parishes have arisen several times since Vermilion Parish was carved out of what was once a much larger Lafayette Parish in 1844.
The most recent flare-up began in 1999, when former City-Parish Councilman Lenwood Broussard successfully argued in court that his opponent Linda Duhon could not run against him because she lived in Vermilion Parish, even though she paid taxes and voted in Lafayette Parish.
Vermilion and Lafayette parishes agreed in 2002 to have the State Land Office research the line and to adopt whatever boundary the state agency drew.
Bertrand and others argue the resulting parish line was based on incomplete historical research, and the Lafayette City-Parish Council voted unanimously in 2013 to back out of the 2002 boundary agreement, prompting a lawsuit from Vermilion Parish.
At stake is about 1,000 to 1,200 acres.