(a) It is the intent of the Legislature by the passage of this article to authorize counties to acquire, own and lease projects for the purpose of promoting industry and trade by inducing manufacturing, industrial and commercial enterprises to locate in this state or to expand, enlarge or modernize existing enterprises or both, promoting the use of the agricultural products and natural resources of this state and promoting a sound and proper balance in this state between agriculture, commerce and industry. It is the further intent of the Legislature by the passage of this article to authorize counties having populations of not less than 54,500 nor more than 56,000, according to the most recent federal decennial census, to acquire, own and lease projects for the purpose of inducing the federal government or its departments or agencies to locate or to enlarge existing facilities and operations of any kind within the county, thus contributing to the general prosperity of the area and providing greater opportunities for employment of inhabitants of the surrounding area. It is intended that each project be self-liquidating. It is not intended hereby to authorize any county itself to operate any manufacturing, industrial or commercial enterprise.
(b) This article shall be liberally construed in conformity with the said intent.