City-Parish Councilman Don Bertrand is enjoying a delayed honeymoon in Europe, but he’s urging his fellow councilmen to oppose an ordinance up for final adoption Tuesday that would abandon Lafayette’s effort to pursue a Vermilion-Lafayette parish boundary dispute to the state Supreme Court.
Lafayette Consolidated Government and the Vermilion Parish Police Jury have already fought the battle in state district court and at the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal, with Vermilion winning each time. Bertrand, who has long argued that the parish line between Lafayette and Vermilion was incorrectly drawn a century ago and improperly agreed on a dozen years ago by the two parishes, wants to ask the Louisiana Supreme Court to consider the issue.
Citing escalating legal costs, Councilman Jared Bellard submitted an ordinance that would repeal ordinances the council passed this year pursuing an adjustment to the boundary. Bellard’s ordinance is up for a final vote Tuesday (Dec. 1).
But in an email to his fellow council members, Bertrand argues that the fight is worth it:
Mr. Bellard has put forth an amendment which I certainly do not agree with. When we took this on, we knew we may have to go the whole distance in order to have LA State Law applied, and may I say applied correctly as a policy matter. As [city-parish attorney] Mike Hebert and others can tell you, this will not be the first time we (Lafayette leadership) have had to go the distance (The State Supreme Court in particular) in order to reach a fair judgment for the city and Parish of Lafayette. This is not just a matter of the southern boundary line procedure but will indeed affect the curing of the eastern line as well.
As Gary McGoffin [the attorney contracted by LCG to pursue the matter in court] will attest, the cost is between $8,000.00 and $10,000.00 and dare I say it should not be about the money vs the proper way to handle a boundary change.
I will not be in town to vote but you all know how I feel about this. Gary Mc Goffin, Mike Hebert and others may be able to speak to the ridiculous nature of this ordinance at this late date near the end of this legal challenge. In your vote early on you all agreed this was not handled properly as was demonstrated by not just me, but by [surveyor] M.P. Mayeux as well.
I ask you all to vote against Jared’s ordinance and move forward to the LA Supreme Court.
I am out of town on a delayed honeymoon with my wife, which was scheduled before Jared’s ordinance. I was unaware of this until introduced.
I am out of the country but can be reached by email. I trust you will do the correct thing, move forward with the brief to the LA Supreme Court and defeat this ordinance.