(1) Subject to the provisions of this part, each county or group of counties may create by ordinance a local governmental body as a public body corporate and politic to be known as “____ Research and Development Authority,” hereafter referred to as “authority” or “authorities.” Each of the authorities is constituted as a public instrumentality for the purposes of development, operation, management, and financing of a research and development park, and the exercise by an authority of the powers conferred by ss. 159.701-159.7095 shall be deemed and held to be the performance of an essential public purpose and function. However, no authority created on or after July 1, 2007, shall transact any business or exercise any power hereunder until and unless the Board of Governors of the State University System has designated the authority pursuant to the requirements of s. 159.704.
(2) The governing board of the county may adopt a resolution declaring that there is need for a research and development authority in the county if it finds that there exists a need for the development and financing of a research and development park.
(3) The resolution shall designate not less than five persons who are residents and electors of, or have their principal place of employment in, the county as members of the authority created for said county. Of the members first appointed, one shall serve for 1 year, one for 2 years, one for 3 years, and the remainder for 4 years and in each case until his or her successor is appointed and has qualified. Thereafter, the board shall appoint for terms of 4 years each a member or members to succeed those whose terms expire. In addition to the other members, the president of each affiliated institution of higher education, or the president’s designee, shall be a member of the authority and shall serve ex officio. Except as to members who serve ex officio, the board shall fill any vacancy for an unexpired term. A member of the authority shall be eligible for reappointment. Any member of the authority may be removed by the board for misfeasance, malfeasance, or willful neglect of duty. Each member of the authority before entering upon his or her duties shall take and subscribe the oath or affirmation required by the State Constitution. A record of each such oath shall be filed with the Department of State and with the clerk of the circuit court.
(4) The authority shall annually elect one of its members as chair and one as vice chair and may also appoint a secretary who shall serve at the pleasure of the authority and receive such compensation as shall be fixed by the authority.
(5) The secretary shall keep a record of the proceedings of the authority and shall be custodian of all books and records of the authority and of its official seal.
(6) A majority of the members of the authority shall constitute a quorum, and the affirmative vote of a majority of the members present shall be necessary for any action taken by the authority, provided that the president of each affiliated institution of higher education or that president’s designee shall be present and vote on any action taken by the authority involving the issuance of bonds or the transfer, development, lease or encumbrance of any lands owned by the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund and leased to the authority; and provided, further, that the president of each affiliated institution of higher education or such president’s designee shall be present and vote in the affirmative on any action taken by the authority involving the lease of any park lands to a state agency. No vacancy in the membership of the authority shall impair the right of a quorum to exercise all the rights and perform all the duties of the authority. Any action taken by the authority under the provisions of ss. 159.701-159.7095 may be authorized by resolution at any regular or special meeting, and each such resolution shall take effect immediately and need not be published or posted. Notice of meetings of the authority shall be published in the Florida Administrative Weekly.
(7) The members of the authority shall receive no compensation for the performance of their duties hereunder, but each such member shall be paid necessary expenses incurred while engaged in the performance of such duties.
(8) The authority may also appoint such other officers as it may deem necessary.
(9) If two or more contiguous counties wish to create jointly a research and development authority, the governing boards of each county shall adopt a resolution declaring that there is a need for a research and development authority for said counties, which shall be constituted in the manner prescribed by subsections (2)-(7), except that the resolution shall designate not less than seven persons as members of the authority. Each county shall be equally represented on the authority except that the county in which the research and development park is located or in which a substantial portion is located shall be entitled to one additional member.