A long-awaited state audit of Jackson County has begun.

Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway announced Thursday that her audit of the county's finances and operations is under way, 10 months after County Executive Frank White sought Galloway's assistance in the midst of a budget dispute with a majority of county legislators.

Among other things, some legislators have questioned how money is spent and criticized White and his staff for allegedly authorizing dozens of professional service contracts without putting them out for competitive bid.

Galloway says the focus of the first of what will be multiple audits is the county's program to battle drug abuses and violent crime.

Jackson County taxpayers will pay for the audit.