Denbighshire council estimates it must cut by £25m
Savings have to be made and they will mean cuts in public spending, a public meeting in Denbighshire has been told.
The local authority estimates it has to save £25m over the next four years, as the rest of the public sector also makes cuts.
Residents asked about hospital closures and whether a public consultation on waste and recycling services in the authority was itself a waste of money.
Council chief executive Mohammed Mehmet called the situation "challenging".
He confirmed a recruitment freeze and a review of council services.
He said: "It is challenging and tough for the council. The situation for the health board is more significant as they have an even bigger budget.
"The public sector as a whole is looking to save about 25% of current expenditure.
"That's going to be extremely challenging and people are concerned, and we are concerned, about the impact of that on the services that really matter to people."
Representatives from Denbighshire council, North Wales Police, fire, and health services and the voluntary sector were present at the meeting.
Local authorities will not be absolutely clear on their financial position until the end of November, following the UK government's spending review.
But council leader Hugh Evans said it was important to keep in touch with the public in the meantime.
"At the end of the day it is the councillors within the authority who will have to make the decision and set the budget.
"But we also have to provide information for residents to make an informed decision on this.
"If we can share as much information as we can it should make life a bit easier for everybody."
This was the first of a series of spending review presentations taking place across the authority.