Darlington residents have been having their say about where the axe should fall in proposed budget cuts.
More than 400 council jobs are set to go and a historic theatre could close as the Labour-controlled authority attempts a £22m reduction in spending.
About 200 people attended the first of two public consultation events.
Many expressed concern over plans to reduce services, as well as cutting the £1m annual subsidy to the town's 103-year-old Civic Theatre.
Bill Dixon, the deputy leader of the council, said of the £22m spending cut: "It represents almost one in three of the pounds we spend at present.
"Imagine your own domestic income cut by one third, it makes it very difficult to decide what to do."
A further public meeting will be held on 16 November at the Dolphin Centre in the town.