Around the Hamptons: The Rag Shag returns, Easthampton Council on Aging seeks applicants for tax work-off program

  • The Easthampton Rag Shag Parade returns on Wednesday following a pandemic-caused hiatus. The parade begins at 6:30 p.m. at the former Maple St. School. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 10/23/2022 11:54:58 AM
Modified: 10/23/2022 11:54:46 AM

EASTHAMPTON — After a brief hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rag Shag Parade is returning to the city on Wednesday with a new route.

The parade route begins at 6:30 p.m. at the former Maple Street School at 7 Chapel St. The route will traverse to Cottage Street, then turn onto Williston Avenue and conclude at Easthampton High School.

“We’ll be handing out candy, so please dress up and enjoy a tradition that’s been on for 45-plus years, minus the pandemic,” said John Mason, director of the Parks and Recreation.

Senior can apply for tax work-off program

EASTHAMPTON — The Council on Aging is accepting applications for its Senior Tax Work-Off program.

Now in its third iteration, the program encourages Easthampton homeowners who are 60 or older and who meet income eligibility guidelines to apply for positions in city departments in exchange for a reduction in their real estate property taxes for there personal residences for fiscal 2024.

Following the success of the first application cycle, the Council on Aging decided to expand the program to fill 20 positions. What officials learned, however, was that there were not enough interested applicants and not enough work to fill the hours of 20 positions, according to Director Cynthia Tarail. During the second cycle, 11 seniors worked for the city as part of the program.

This cycle, Tarail said she isn’t specifying a need in the number of positions, but assures that the positions to be filled will be supported and managed well.

Work will be performed between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31, and includes indoor and outdoor positions with the Council on Aging, the Municipal Building, the Parks and Recreation Department, and public safety.

Workers who complete the maximum of 100 hours will receive a $1,500 credit on their property taxes at the rate of $15 per hour. For those who work less than 100 hours, they will receive a prorated credit.

Eligible applicants can have an individual maximum gross income of $63,940 and a combined couple maximum annual gross income of $72,960, both of which include Social Security benefits. Participants’ property tax, water and sewer payments must be up to date, and the program is limited to one participant per household.

Those interested in applying can pick up an application at the Senior Center or Municipal Building. Applications are also available at easthampton.gov under the “Council on Aging” tab under “Departments.” A lottery will be enacted if the number of qualified applicants exceeds the number of positions available, said Tarail.

Applicants will be interviewed and should prepare to share their resume and references. For more information, call Tarail at 413-527-6151, extension 134 or email ctarail@easthamptonma.gov.

Bridge closure

Liberty Street bridge in Easthampton is closed until 4 p.m. on Friday to allow for the installation of a new gas main. A detour is available through Union, Cottage and Adams streets throughout the duration of the closure.

Emily Thurlow can be reached at ethurlow@gazettenet.com.
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