People with second homes in Moray will have to pay an additional 100% council tax charge for their property.
The move will benefit the council by almost £1 million.
In total there are 740 properties the new policy relates to in the area.
At a meeting of the corporate committee on January 30, Lorraine Paisey said: “As chief financial officer the opportunity to raise some additional income … has to be welcomed.”
Conservative councillor Kathleen Robertson felt those across the chamber would agree that council tax needed to be reformed.
She said: “I really struggled with this paper, because my inherent Conservative values feels it’s unfair.
“There are very many reasons why people have second homes.
“However as leader of the council with a budget to set, and no other council tax levers available to us, it kind of leaves us in an invidious position.”
Elgin North SNP councillor Jeremie Fernandes was pleased the paper was before committee.
He said: “The bottom line to this is nobody needs a second home.
“I welcome the additional revenue, but that’s not the goal.
“The goal is to make second homes available for people and release them onto the market for rent or sale.”
‘Nobody needs a second home’
While not opposing the paper, Labour councillor for Elgin North Sandy Keith felt it was only “tinkering at the edges”.
He said: “There were other issues not taken forward in the last six to nine months, including looking at council tax bands E to H.
“That would have brought in more financial flexibility.
“Also the revenue grant was cut, therefore not fully funding the council tax freeze.”
SNP councillor for Keith and Cullen Theresa Coull felt second home ownership had far-reaching consequences especially for rural villages.
She said: “When people don’t stay there half the year it impacts our schools. our shops and the whole community.”
The new policy on council tax for second homes was unanimously agreed.
In the financial year 2023/24, council tax levied on properties classed as
second homes came to £976,000.
Council tax freeze
That figure is equivalent of 1.53% of the gross council tax levied by the local authority that year.
The new charge will come into force on April 1.