A councillor has questioned whether a Victorian cliff tramway provided an "economic benefit" to the area.
The Saltburn funicular is thought to be the oldest operating water-balance cliff lift in the UK.
Chris Gallacher, of UKIP, asked whether the cost of operating and maintaining the Grade II-listed attraction, dating back to 1884, was a "cost burden".
Redcar and Cleveland Council said the lift and pier "attracted tens of thousands of people to the area".
The Local Democracy Reporting Service said Mr Gallacher asked the council's resources committee whether anybody had ever quantified the "economic benefit" of the tramway.
He said: "Does it bring tourism in? Or is it just a cost burden to everybody in this borough?
"When we're talking of cutting costs, maybe the tramway should be an artefact that poses rather than operates, if it costs us too much money."
The council said it was the most visited paid-for attraction in the borough, carrying more than 150,000 passengers a year when fully operational.
Tourism organisation VisitEngland has described the cliff lift as "novel and interesting".
Last year, a review of ticket pricing proposed increasing single fares while reducing the cost of an adult annual pass to use the tramway, and these have now been included in the budget which has been passed.