Residents are being consulted on the powers of an elected mayor for a combined local authority.
The Tees Valley Combined Authority has agreed a deal with government to transfer £15m a year from central to local decision making.
The agreement requires electing a mayor to lead it - taking on responsibility for transport, budgets and investment.
Householders are being asked to comment on the proposed role and associated "checks and balances".
Hartlepool Council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher urged "residents and the business community to get involved".
He said: "It results in more decision-making at a local level and gives us more influence to shape our future."
Hartlepool, Darlington, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton-on-Tees councils formed the combined authority in April after support from householders.
The five councils will continue to deliver local services but will make transport, infrastructure, employment and skills decisions as a group.
Seven councils in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham formed the North East Combined Authority in 2014.