Householders can have their say over controversial plans to switch their weekly bin collection to a fortnightly service.
The change, which would see green bins fall in line with blue recycling containers, is proposed for April next year as part of a larger series of ongoing Sunderland City Council cuts until 2020.
It prompted an angry response from readers when the Echo revealed details of the move earlier this week.
Now taxpayers can have their official say by taking part in a council public consultation exercise.
The authority maintains it has no choice but to make the savings as it attempts to save £74m while grappling with central government funding cuts.
It adds that the changes would help it meet the demand for adult social care as the population ages and the extra investment needed to support vulnerable children.
Council leader Councillor Paul Watson said: “This is uncharted territory in terms of the crippling level of cuts we are facing as a result of the Government’s austerity programme.
“We’ve tried so hard to protect our communities from the worst of the cuts over the last six years by absorbing most of the impact ourselves but we’ve now reached the stage where we just can’t do that any more.
“We know these cuts are going to impact on services that residents hold dear and we share their frustration that we can’t provide the same level of service we once did.
“But we can’t spend money that we don’t have which is why we’ve had to take a long hard look at each and every service to see how we can achieve the savings we need to make.”
Among the reader comments about the collection changes, which would save £750,000, were “I smell a fly-tipping problem” from Emma Louise Bellerby and “it will cause vermin” from Ann Renney Cooper.
The council, however, insists that ongoing public consultations show a “steady increase in the respondents’ appetite for alternate weekly collections”.
Coun Watson added: “I’d like to thank everyone who has already taken part in the general budget consultation and encourage them and everyone else in the city to have their say on these more detailed proposals.
“The budget challenge we’re facing in the run up to 2020 is greater than any we’ve seen to date, with some really difficult choices so it’s important people have the opportunity to comment on them.”
Residents and businesses can have their say until Tuesday, January 3 next year, by logging on to the council website at www.sunderland.gov.uk/budget-consultation
Copies of the survey are also available from firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning (0191) 5611614.