Recently, the Preston Hollow North Homeowners Association fell roughly 60 signatures short in its attempt to turn its neighborhood into a PID (Public Improvement District). That means residents won’t have to pay special taxes for security patrols next year.


          What’s more telling, though, is what it doesn’t mean.


          It doesn’t mean most residents aren’t willing to pay for security patrols. Roughly 82 percent of them pay association dues, almost all of which goes to the patrols.


And it doesn’t necessarily mean neighbors will pay less without the tax. David Chortek, president of the homeowners association, says they’ve used reserves to keep dues at $200, but next year will likely bring reduced patrols or significantly increased dues.


“To continue the 24/7 patrol as an HOA would be approximately $315 a person,” he says. “To do it as a PID, where everybody in the neighborhood contributes, it’s $265. So it’s cheaper to do it as a PID.”


Why, then, would residents be against the tax? Apparently, for the sole reason that it is a tax, Chortek says.


“Some just don’t trust the city,” Chortek says. “There’s an incredible amount of distrust of city government, and they just won’t sign it. I think it’s the previous leadership that caused that. Many support Mitch Rasansky. He’s done a terrific job to improve the worst streets.”


Chortek says association leaders are not giving up on the PID, because they believe non-stop crime patrols are crucial to neighborhood safety.


“If you can tell me when crime is gonna happen, I’d be very happy to limit it (the patrols) to those specific hours,” he says. “Since you can’t predict it, the best you can do is provide protection around the clock.”


And the best way to do that, he reiterates, is through a PID.


“The entire board is unanimous in that we feel the PID is the absolute way to go. It’s an assured stream of income, so we can sit down and plan every year. And it takes us out of the collection business.


“We didn’t get enough signatures in time for 2005, but we’ll certainly do it for 2006. This is not going to go away for us.”


Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Preston Hollow.