HUBBARDSTON - Town officials are considering regionalizing the building department with Gardner.

Richard Breagy has been filling in as temporary building inspector since the retirement of Larry Brandt. Town officials' talks with Gardner have created a pilot program for building department regionalization.

“We have been considering all options on how to most cost effectively ... fill the position/department while still providing efficient service to the citizens of Hubbardston," said Dan Galante, chairman of the Board of Selectmen. while still providing efficient service to the citizens of Hubbardston.“

Gardner and Hubbardston received a grant to address the issue and had the Edward J. Collins Jr. Center for Public Management at UMass Boston do research. That work pointed Hubbardston officials to pursue regionalization with Gardner.

”(Former interim Town Administrator) Brian Bullock worked with Gardner on a community compact grant to study this regionalization,” Town Administrator Ryan McLane said. “I reached out to all neighboring communities. ... and we circled back to Gardner as the best choice for us.“

According to Mr. McLane, towns across the state have been having issues finding building inspectors and commissioners, making regionalization more common.

Gardner has "a fleet of inspectors and a commissioner and full-time staff there, so we would be sharing their full-time staff, but we would retain our administration staff and office hours,” Mr. McLane said.

If the plan is approved by the selectmen and Gardner officials, Hubbardston would use Gardner’s inspectors and commissioners to conduct inspections, help with zoning issues and answer questions.

“The talks with Gardner have been going great,” McLane said. “It’s unique for both towns so there are a lot of details to work out. We don’t want to overburden Gardner while getting the level of service we want in Hubbardston, but we feel comfortable.“

Under an agreement for a seven-month pilot program to test how regionalizing the building departments works, Hubbardston will pay Gardner $2,000 a month. For any inspection that would cost over $2,500, compensation would be negotiated between town officials. If the program goes well, a more long-term deal will be worked out.

“We were having some transitions in the Building Department in the past year, so we figured now is the time to do it,” said Mike Nicholson, executive aide to Gardner Mayor Mark Hawke. “The trial period should be beginning soon, and we will see if it’s worth continuing on from there.“

If the program works out, Mr. Hawke will work out the amount Hubbardston would pay, as well as iron out other details.

The program would only have to go through the Gardner City Council if there were to be a change in stipend for the building inspectors or extra compensation, as the mayor reserves the authority to execute intermunicipal agreements, and the Gardner City Council has appropriation authority.

While they have already held public forums on the plan, the selectmen will discuss the plan at their meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Slade Building.