Court tells man: ‘Start paying your council tax or face prison’

A man who had nearly five years of council tax outstanding has been ordered to start repaying the £9,010.49 he owes – or face prison.

Published: Tuesday, 14th July 2015

The last council tax payment Jonathan Garstin, 67, of Courtlands Drive, Watford made was in May 2013. Watford Borough Council met Garstin to try and resolve his outstanding arrears on several occasions, but launched legal action when he still did not pay any of the money he owed. Watford Magistrates Court imposed a 42-day sentence suspended for 12 months on Monday 22 June. He has been ordered to sort out his financial affairs and start making repayments of £50.00 a week from October 2015. If he fails to make those payments, he faces a prison sentence.

Elected Mayor of Watford Dorothy Thornhill said: “Council tax is an essential way of funding public services in Watford. These include bin collections, the police force, our schools, roads and many of our wonderful leisure facilities. We always do our best to resolve council tax disputes amicably, but, when we need to, we will clamp down on those who refuse to pay.”

Councillor Mark Watkin, portfolio holder for finance, said: “We give residents every opportunity to engage with us where they have difficulty in paying their council tax. Unfortunately, in some cases of people who can but won’t pay, we have no option but to take people to court to secure the debt. They are being subsidised by the rest of the community and we will not tolerate it.”

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