JENNINGS, Mo. – Critics of government spending in the troubled city of Jennings are taking aim at the city’s decision to hire a consulting company.

It’s a deal that will cost taxpayers $90 an hour. They say there’s no clear definition of what the consultant is going to do.

Citizens and some members of the city council are trying to rein in spending. They’re collecting signatures to bring in the Missouri State Auditor to pour over the books and expose waste.

Councilwoman Gary Johnson is leading the effort for the state audit. He says the last consultant hired by the city has been on the payroll for two years and was paid $150,000.

In that time, Johnson says the city’s residential values have gone down $500,000, and the value of commercial property has dropped $1.4 million.

FOX 2 contacted Jennings Mayor Yolanda Austin to ask about the consultant, whom she’s backed, but she was unavailable for comment. Previous attempts to reach the mayor have also failed.

Councilman Johnson says these consultant deals make it easier to get more signatures to petition the state auditor.

“…After the (last city council meeting) we most definitely went out. That fueled us to go get more signatures!” he said.

Councilman Johnson says they’ve got 80% of the signatures they need to bring in the state auditor. He believes they’ll reach the goal by the end of the year.