Under the form of local government provided by the Greater New York Charter, a local board is authorized to initiate proceedings for the opening, closing, straightening, paving, sewering, flagging, curbing, regulating and grading of streets that lie within its district.

The local board is composed of the aldermanic district in which the local board is situated, together with the president of the borough. If the property affected lies in more than one aldermanic district in the same borough, all the aldermen of the districts and the president of the borough compose the local board. If an improvement is required within a certain district, the local board of this district adopts a resolution recommending the improvement to the Board of Estimate and Apportionment.

Street openings are begun as follows:

The local board adopts a resolution to lay out a certain street, or to sewer, pave, regulate, grade or change the grade of a certain street. This resolution is sent to the Board of Estimate and Apportionment. The Board of Estimate and Apportionment, if it approves the resolution, makes its resolution, laying out the street or the improvement as designated by the local board, or modifying it, as it deems proper. The matter again comes up before the local board, which adopts a resolution recommending that title to the improvement be acquired by the City of New York. This matter is then again presented to the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, which lays out an area of assessment on which the cost of the improvement is assessed. Public hearings are given for this purpose. Notice of this hearing is published in the City Record and other corporation newspapers for a specified time, setting forth a date when the Board of Estimate will again consider the matter. At this hearing an area of assessment is fixed, and the Corporation Counsel then makes application for the appointment of Commissioners of Estimate and Assessment.

All of the Commissioners must reside within the borough in which the property affected lies.

Formerly all of the Commissioners sat as Commissioners of Estimate and Assessment; but now two act as Commissioners of Estimate and one as Commissioner of Assessment. These are designated by the Court who makes the appointment. Formerly the compensation of the Commissioners for one hearing was $10, but now it has been reduced to $5, and they are obliged to sit at least one hour at each hearing. After they are appointed by the Court, they give notice to the persons whose property is affected to file their appearances and claims, and that the Commissioners will conduct a hearing on a date set. On or before that time owners can present their appearances and claims in writing to the Clerk of the Commissioners.