Clay County residents who want a complete state audit of county finances and operations took a step closer to that Friday.
State Auditor Nicole Galloway's office confirmed about 9,100 signatures were delivered by a group called Citizens For A Better Clay County.
If 5,590 are valid, then state law mandates that Galloway conduct the audit.
The audit would be both of finances and operations, according to the auditor's office.
The group has three main concerns, according to Jason Withington, the driving force behind the petitions.
Residents complain about a lack of transparency, record tampering and tens of thousands of dollars in penalties the county has incurred because it has failed to pay bills in a timely way.
"We have nothing to hide," says Clay County administrator Dean Brookshier. "It's unfortunate because we really don't know what the state audit will cost."
State law says the organization being audited picks up the tab. In the case of Clay County, that could run as high as $150,000. The auditor's office does say it works with local governments to set up payment plans.
Galloway will also be auditing Jackson County.