(1) Any two or more contiguous counties, municipalities, other political subdivisions, or combinations thereof in this state are authorized and empowered to convene a charter committee for the purpose of developing a charter under which a regional transportation authority, hereinafter referred to as “authority,” may be constituted, composed, and operated as delineated in this part. However, no county, municipality, or other political subdivision may be a member in more than one authority created under this part.
(2) Upon the decision by such governing bodies to convene the committee, each shall appoint one representative for the first 100,000 population or fraction thereof over 50,000, plus one additional representative for each additional 100,000 population to the charter committee, except that the population of any participating municipality shall be subtracted from the county’s population in determining county representation. The committee shall meet for the purpose of preparing the authority’s charter. The charter, in addition to the purposes and powers provided in s. 163.568, shall contain:
(a) The formula for representation and voting of the members based on population, but in no event shall the Governor’s appointees have less than one vote each.
(b) Any limitations on the authority’s powers of eminent domain beyond those limitations contained in s. 163.568 and deemed necessary for the authority’s purposes.
(c) The duration of the authority and the method by which it may be terminated or withdrawn from by any participating member prior to the stated date of termination, if any.
(d) The manner in which the authority members will provide from their treasuries the financial support for the authority.
(e) A method or formula for equitably providing for and allocating and financing the capital and operating costs, including payments to reserve funds authorized by law and payments of principal and interest on obligations.
(f) The manner in which strict budgeting and accountability of all funds shall be provided for and the manner in which reports, including an annual independent audit, of all receipts and disbursements shall be prepared and presented to each participating member.
(g) Any other necessary and proper matters agreed upon by the charter committee.
(3) The charter and all subsequent amendments thereto shall be duly executed by the governing bodies of all members and shall be filed with the Department of State, at which time the authority shall be activated and legally constituted.
(4) When the charter is filed with the Department of State, the Governor shall be notified that such action has been taken, and the Governor shall within 20 days appoint two members to the authority. Within 25 days from the filing of the charter, each member shall appoint its director or directors, and the first meeting of the authority shall be held.
(5) In addition to other funding as prescribed in this part, any member joining the authority shall agree to provide the authority with funds to be used only for planning and administration for a period not to exceed 5 years from such time as the authority was formally constituted. These total funds shall not exceed $300,000 per annum, and the cost shall be duly apportioned among the members by a ratio based on population. Any member may, of its own accord, pay more than its apportioned share of the funds.
(6) After the authority has been in existence for a period of not less than 12 months, municipalities having less than 50,000 population may be admitted as fully participating members if agreed upon by at least a three-fourths vote of all the members of the board of directors.
(7) Subsequent to the activation of the authority, contiguous counties, municipalities, or other political subdivisions not participating initially may become members of the authority with the same benefits as the initial members, upon approval by a majority vote of the board.
(8) The board of directors of the authority shall consist of at least one director representing each member, and two directors appointed by the Governor. In no event shall the board be composed of less than five directors, including the two appointed by the Governor. Each member shall initially appoint one director for a 3-year term. Of those members appointing more than one director, the remaining directors shall be appointed initially for a term of 2 years. Thereafter, all directors shall be appointed for 3-year terms.
(9) Each director shall hold office until his or her successor has been appointed and qualified. A vacancy occurring during a term shall be filled only for the balance of the unexpired term. The first directors shall be selected as provided above. An appointment to fill a vacancy shall be made within 20 days after the occurrence of the vacancy or before expiration of the term, whichever is applicable. If no appointment is made within the prescribed time by the appointing member, the board, by a majority vote, shall appoint an eligible person to the board with like effect as if the appointment were made by the member. However, if the board does not appoint an eligible person within 10 days, the appointment shall then be made by the Governor within 10 days thereafter. Any director shall be eligible for reappointment.
(10) The board shall elect one of its directors as chair and one as vice chair to serve for 1 year in that capacity or until their successors are elected. A majority of the directors shall constitute a quorum. A vacancy on the board shall not impair its right to exercise all of its powers and perform all of its duties. Any vacancy not filled within the period prescribed by this section shall be filled by appointment of the board. Upon the effective date of his or her appointment, or as soon thereafter as practicable, each director shall enter upon his or her duties.
(11) A director of the board may be removed from office by the Governor or by the appointing member for misconduct, malfeasance, misfeasance, or neglect of duty in office. Any vacancy so created shall be filled as provided above.
(12) The authority may employ an executive administrator, who shall be a person of recognized ability and experience, to serve at the pleasure of the authority. The executive administrator may employ such employees as may be necessary for the proper administration of the duties and functions of the authority and may determine the qualifications of such persons; however, the board shall approve such positions and fix compensation for employees. The authority may contract for the services of attorneys, engineers, consultants, and agents for any purpose of the authority, including engineering, architectural design, management, feasibility, transportation planning, and other studies concerning the design of facilities and the acquisition, construction, extension, operation, maintenance, regulation, consolidation, and financing of transportation systems in the area.
(13) Directors of the board shall be entitled to receive their travel and other necessary expenses incurred in connection with the business of the authority, as provided in s. 112.061, but they shall receive no salaries or other compensation.