“This has been a long and drawn out process,” Zelle said. “We are very close to reaching an agreement and hoped to have done so by now. We have worked hard to satisfy the county demands while also ensuring the interests of the state are protected. Certainly, avoiding a year of court hearings is in the best interest of all taxpayers.”
Zelle said that if the counties and MnDOT are not able to reach a settlement agreement soon, court hearings in the litigation will resume in the coming weeks.
New Ulm attorney Justin Weinberg, who represents the counties in the dispute, said Tuesday that he was surprised by the letter from the state.
"We're a bit stunned by this because we're not sure what language in that agreement they are saying they didn't agree to."
Weinberg said the two counties are trying to hold special meetings on Friday to see how to proceed. He said they continue to hope for a negotiated settlement.