- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 2, 2015

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - Lafayette Parish appears ready to continue fighting a longstanding border dispute with Vermilion Parish that has already cost Lafayette Parish about $53,000 in legal fees.

The Lafayette City-Parish Council killed a proposal Tuesday by Councilman Jared Bellard to end a long-running legal feud with Vermilion Parish over the location of the parish line, multiple media outlets report. The vote came after council members discussed the litigation in a closed-door executive session.

Lafayette’s lawsuit seeks to void a 2002 agreement between the parishes on where the boundary should be. Bellard argued the 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.

The vote sets the stage for Lafayette to appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Councilman Don Bertrand, a critic of the boundary, was absent from Tuesday’s meeting, 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.

The boundary dispute over approximately 1,000 to 1,200 acres dates back to 1844 when Vermilion Parish was carved out of Lafayette Parish. The boundary line was established using trees as landmarks. The trees are long gone gone.

Lafayette and Vermilion parish governments agreed in 2002 to let the State Land Office re-establish the boundary. But in 2013, at the urging of Bertrand, who said all the evidence available was not considered by the State Land Office, the council decided to challenge the new boundary.

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