Sunday, November 17, 2013

Kopka, the city clerk and Wiltshire UPDATED

I said I would weigh in on the last two years of Lynn Kopka’s tenure as Troy Council president so here it goes.

Let me start by saying it was no surprise when she got the most votes two years ago to become Council president, and it was hers to lose again. But, she had some missteps that resonated with the voters and now she is facing a court challenge by Carmella Mantello for the third At Large seat.

Her problems started right out of the gate with a number of screwed up meeting notifications causing the meetings to be postponed, including the first organizational meeting in 2012. However, there is learning curve with any new endeavor, it really didn’t impact real people and it’s unclear if it was Kopka’s fault or newly appionted City Clerk Karla Guererri’s.

(As an aside it will be interesting so see if Guererri hangs onto her job now that Rodney Wiltshire will be president on Jan. 1. One name being floated to replace Guererri is Emily Rossier, who was a non-campaigning candidate for the Working Families Party in District 6. She and other in the WFP worked hard for Wiltshire.)

Then, in March of this year Kopka penned a letter “on behalf of the citizens of Troy” in favor of Gov. Mario Cuomo’s SAFE Act and sent it to the rest of the Council asking for their signatures. While the Council is elected to represent the people of Troy there was never an official resolution passed in favor of or opposed to the SAFE Act, just the letter. The SAFE Act is a controversial gun control law that certainly has people up in arms, particularly in upstate, but given Troy’s demographic shift to the left, I don’t know how much that hurt her either.

-One thing that hurt in South Troy is her vote to create an adult business district along the waterfront. Personally, I think the entire thing was blown way out of proportion but don’t tell that to the people in South Troy – they’re not known as an open minded, easy going bunch.

The two things I think hurt Kopka the most, however, is what every Trojan can relate to – taxes.

The assessment on her Washington Park home was $250,000 before reassessment, $408,000 after reassessment and then it dropped down to $346,000 without her having to go through a formal grieving process. To be fair, some 1,400 other Trojans followed the same procedure with the majority of them getting their new assessments lowered shortly after GAR – the company that conducted the reassessment – was paid $1 million to assess all the properties at a supposed fair market value.

(Lynn informs me GAR overestimated her property by some 1,200 square feet, which is why her assessment was lowered.)

Also, during the reassessment process the city determined Washington Park should be a taxable property since it is not open for the general public to use. Only those living in the neighborhood have a key to the gated little wonderland so I have to agree with the city on this one. The proposed assessment is nominal and would equal about $2,200 in taxes to be paid by the some 50 households. But, rather than just pay it, the neighbors are fighting it in court. Kopka, of course, is the face of the Washington Park Association.

Let me add, I’ve known Kopka since she worked for then Mayor Mark Pattison and I’ve always liked her spunk and inexorable energy. She does, however, toe the party line and in this case it’s the one drawn by county Chair Tom Wade. Wiltshire does not. And where Kopka tried to keep Council Democrats in a semblance of a cohesive body, I don’t think Wiltshire (pictured above) will care one way or another. Right off the bat I can see the seven-member majority breaking into camps of four and three, respectively. More on that later.  


  1. Rodney certainly will not follow Wade. Heard he will appoint Marge DerGurahian as city auditor as a favor to the powerful street democrat Rabbit Riley who was instrumental in Rodney getting the Independence line.

  2. Dep. Mayor Ryan and Lou have made the 5th floor into a security bunker, the Cox family is officially done and they fear retribution. Vito rules again!

  3. Rodney will install solar panels on sheerans high tops.

  4. Rodney is my favorite cabbage patch

  5. Lynn has spent countless hours working for the betterment of the entire city. Much more than you can say for the cousil member from district. 2. Anastasia beet him

  6. Why all the talk about Rodney, Vito is the real deal. He pushed Kev Mcgrath off the counsil, banned crazy Cox from city hall and put crackhead Coop into oblivion. That's real leadership!

  7. I thought Vito was the councilman in the 'Burgh?

  8. Vito is the citizen of the year and with his Vito Claus in the park festival he will sure take the cake in 2014. Lou should be blessed to have such a asset in his administration

  9. Since I have asked Jim to clarify that I did go thru the appeal process, I will include the statement I sent to voters after the inaccurate robocalls:
    You may have received an anonymous call stating that I received a "secret deal" at City Hall to lower the assessment of my home at 195 Second Street by $80,000. I would like to provide the facts. My property at 195 Second Street (two family home built circa 1840 with no carriage house, garage or outbuildings) had been assessed at $250,000.
    GAR, in the reval, assessed 195 Second Street at $408,000. GAR listed the square footage as 6,200 square feet. The 3 story building is approximately 5,000 square feet. Due to the overestimate of 1,200 square feet (almost the size of a small house), I challenged the assessment through the appropriate process as outlined in the assessment documents. Based on the information submitted to the Board of Assessment Review, the assessment was lowered by the board to reflect the correct square footage. In order to keep my distance from the proceedings, I did not appear at any of the meetings - whether preliminary or final. The preparation and presentation of the challenge to the assessment were handled by others.
    No one should be concerned that my taxes are being lowered. It is still quite a jump from $250,000 to $346,000. I am also above the City of Troy average assessment of $131,000. I imagine that any questions may be directed to the Board of Assessment Review.
    Thank you. Lynn

  10. The Board of Assessment Review? The board made up with all democrat appointees who lowered the assessments of all connected democrats? Next explain your fine for running an illegal business out of your house.

  11. How does a company the city paid 1,000,000 to assess proprieties miss 1200 sq ft on one house in the city and it happens to be council presidents house. I know I believe that story.

    Next you'll tell me the DA forgot to file legal papers and a rapist walk out of jail a free man.

    1. There are lots of Democrats paying more in taxes than before. I am paying more taxes in some places and a little less on others. Your comment is just a crude attempt at political bullying.

  12. I can say that GAR overestimated the square footage of my house by 600 square feet, and when confronted with the error, they fixed it. It seems they used a lot of aerial photography in estimating square feet, and if a house has a large roof overhang like mine, it might have been misjudged. It has nothing to do with connections, it has to do with not letting GAR get away with mistakes.

  13. Heard Harry got kickbacks from GAR to assess the democrat's properties high.