JENNINGS, Mo. – Homeowner Jeannine Powers wants Jennings officials to do more to make the city safer. She’s tired of the nightly gunshots that she hears in her neighborhood.

Instead, the Jennings City Council spent $13,000 on a monument to Yolanda Austin, the current mayor. The council recently dedicated a basketball court in the city park in Austin’s honor – a monument with the mayor’s picture on it.

Concerned citizens have contacted the state auditor’s office, saying the city has more important needs than a monument to the mayor.

“Most definitely, that’s a waste of money. Things like that is why we need to have a state audit to go through the books,” Powers said. “Because that is not the only thing. There’s got to be more. I have no words to describe how I feel about the monument. I don’t even understand why that even exists.”

She’s not the only one with doubts about this deal. That’s why citizens plan to collect signatures to get a state audit of how the city is spending taxpayer dollars. Jennings Councilman Gary Johnson is supporting the citizens’ effort.

“The people are not aware of the money. They don’t know where it’s at. And we just want some transparency, and we want to know just where the money is being spent and how it’s being used,” he said.

Residents are also alarmed at Mayor Austin’s proposal to build a new city hall. The original price tag on the project was $14 million.

Johnson says that’s a bad deal for taxpayers.

“So the city hall project, at this point, I don’t believe we can afford it,” he said. “I don’t believe it’s feasible for the city.”

The citizens’ group is just getting all the paper work in order and will then hit the streets in search of signatures.