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A Burnsville, Minn. woman is being taken to court because the city is asking for $50,000 to repair a "dangerous" retaining wall behind her house that she can't afford.
For years, Heather Sommer has lived in low income housing and thought home ownership was out of reach - "It was very exciting. Then within a couple months that joy kind of turned into not that much joy," Sommer said.
Within a few months of moving in, the single mother of three was told the retaining wall behind her house was in violation of Burnsville city code and needed to be replaced.
"The minimum bid I received was $50,000," she said. "They said they couldn't even touch it for 25."
Unable to afford the work and unable to obtain a loan that large, Sommer says she reached out to the city hoping for help; and the city says they made many efforts to work with her.
"Them working with me is either, you fix it or we'll prosecute you," Sommer said.
Eight months after sending the first notice, the city of Burnsville said they made several attempts to contact Sommer and hadn't heard back from her, so they issued a citation -- which Sommer says she never received.
Before she knew it, there was a warrant out for her arrest -- "I'm being criminally prosecuted for a wall that I can't afford to fix," she said.
Sommer fears a conviction will threaten her job. But at this point, she doesn't know where to turn to get the wall repaired and her record cleared.
"It's not like I'm not trying, and I'm not trying to make an effort. I'm trying to be a good homeowner, this is my first home. It's going to take time, it doesn't happen overnight," Sommer said.
The city of Burnsville says now that the case has made its way into the court system, there isn't much more they can do.
Burnsville is also currently at the center of a lawsuit that alleges unconstitutional code enforcement inside one of the city's mobile home communities.