More than 250 signatures were handed to Vijandi Council on Thursday as residents bid to save the city's only public sauna.
Residents pointed to the health and social benefits of keeping the attraction open, but the council decided not to extend the lease.
The move will save €36,000 but the council needs to cut more than €1 million this year from its budget this year.
Councilors said inflation and price rises have left a huge hole in the budget.
"As of the moment, we are still short of a million euros. We cannot take a loan to cover our operating costs," said Viljandi Mayor Madis Timpson (Reform).
Deputy Mayor Tonio Tamra (SDE) recommends going to the sauna at Inger's house, the Jakobson school swimming pool, or the sports hall instead.
"We have to rent [the sauna premises] and this is a very expensive service for us. If we had the financial means, we would definitely not close this sauna," said Tamra.
Councilor Helir-Valdor Seeder (Ismaa) said the sauna is not the first place to look to save money.
"Just a few days ago, flower bulbs were planted in Viljandi at a cost of €50,000, which is certainly another place where savings can be made. If we are now weighing up whether it is people's health or hygiene requirements or the scenery we all enjoy," said Seeder.
Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright
Source: Aktuaalne kaamera