HAMILTON, Mont. -

Ravalli County has started budget hearings. Commissioners began round one by meeting the first wave of department heads. There will be more meetings before it's all over.

But one county leader is preparing for leaner times in her office.

It's early in the game. But public health director Judy Griffin is already looking at ways to stretch dollars tighter.

The county refused to accept Title 10 funding for family planning and reproductive health last year. Griffin said that decision has left a change in workload.

"From a clinical position, to more of an educational piece," said Griffin.

The health director is looking at a $25,000 grant to help fund programs.

She sees her staff out in the public more, and being more accessible, answering more questions.

"From dog bites to molds to communicable diseases," said Griffin.

She has proposed some of her staff, including herself, reduce their hours from five 8-hour days, to four 8-hour days.

Griffin said public health services would continue as-is, five days a week.

Commissioner Greg Chilcott said at this point, the general outlook looks status quo.

"I don't think we're looking at any layoffs," he said, "there's nothing that would indicate that at this juncture."

Commissioners also met with a veterans' group and with planning heads.