September Legend 2023

Monthly Newsletter

Island Time (Part 3) Legend September 2023 Vol. 25 No. 294 Official Newsletter Ambassadors and Advocacy

and, thus, the community. So, what is the difference between advocacy and ambassadorship? Though similar, the differences between these two roles are mostly nuanced points of differentiation, yet both functions are critical to the effective functioning of the organization. Ambassadorship typically involves sharing the chamber’s mission using your platforms, whether in person or online, as a chamber representative. Likewise, advocacy consists in using one’s voice to support the chamber. Still, it centers around specific causes or policies you want to create or change that affect the membership and further the chamber of commerce’s mission. Directors can accomplish these dual functions in a variety of ways. One, is by using your sphere of influence to promote the chamber’s mission, requesting and rallying changes needed to further our causes, supporting and defending the chamber’s

message publicly, and participating in monitoring and representation with county and state legislators to gather necessary information, resources, and support for the chamber’s endeavors on behalf of our membership. Dissemination of pertinent information among our membership constituencies is one of our most important membership benefits. With Monroe County being unincorporated, our members must stay abreast of possible changes in the law and regulatory ordinances that will impact their ability to make a living. In this regard, every small act of interaction and representation at the different governmental levels can and will make a lasting impact for the benefit of our members. We recently were given the news that our own Lisa Feliciano has volunteered to be an ambassador for the chamber. This is fantastic news for all of us. There is no better person Continued on page 3

Roberto I. Alonso Chairman of the Board Key Largo Chamber of Commerce

Let’s begin at the beginning, shall we? The fundamental responsibility of board directors to champion the chamber’s work is to always be advocates and ambassadors on behalf of the mission and vision of the Key Largo Chamber. And to further those goals for the good of the membership

In This Issue Members in Motion PAGE 2 • Mutiscreen TV Advertising PAGE 3 • Property Appraiser News PAGE 4 • Ribbon Cutting, Sept. 21 PAGE 5 Artificial Reef State Funding PAGE 6 • Vote-By-Mail PAGE 6 • Key Largo Flowers & Gifts Ribbon Cutting PAGE 7 Upcoming Members in Motion PAGE 7 • Board Election PAGE 8 • Events & Calendar PAGE 9 Diversification Can Increase Sales PAGE 10 • Luncheon Happenings PAGE 13 • Before the Power Goes Out PAGE 14


Members In Motion! Thank you Islamorada Business Center and Miss Mortgage Loans for hosting our August networking event.

Video Dave with our host Miss Mortgage Loan Claire Montang.

Directors Henry and Spenser with Louis from Markey Marina.

Board Director Stephanie Russo with Elizabeth and Michael of KLCOC.

Andrew from The Andrew Group Keys Company and Valerie Barth.

Bob and Theresa owners of the Davis Group Outdoor Storage and Parking.

Casey Watkins with Alexandra of Coral Reef Title.

Paul and Patrice Messina.

Clarie with the caterers.

Enreque and Berta, SBI Windows and Doors, with Director Michael Rowjewski.

Julie from Time Out Magazine with Gretchen Holland.

Jill, President of BPW with Kim from Upper Keys Marine Construction.



Island Time, Continued

NEW RELEASE! Presenting the 2023 Comcast Advertising Report: packed with actionable data insights for multiscreen TV advertising from Comcast, Effectv, and Freewheel. Discover viewer preferences, marketer trends, and best prac tices for modern strategies. Gain a competitive edge in the evolving TV adver tising landscape. The 2023 Comcast Advertising Report was designed to help simplify the com plexity that buyers and sellers are facing today as TV viewing continues to shift. This second annual report analyzes data insights across Comcast Advertising; in addition to data from Effectv, it includes platform insights from FreeWheel, Comcast’s advertising technology platform, to offer a unique perspective into how viewers are viewing, how buyers are buying, and how sellers are selling TV advertising on all screens. The report offers a look at the TV advertising industry from all sides – and delivers actionable advice and predictions for modern advertisers about how to optimize reach, optimize connection, and optimize results. Multiscreen TV Advertising from Comcast, Effectv, and Freewheel

Continued from page 1

in our community to function in this role in the period after that. Her abundant skill set and generous heart make her a natural for this role. Expect nothing short of greatness from her involvement, and if you find yourself in the mood for it, and we hope you do, join Lisa and become an Ambassador for your Chamber. Dear members, we need representation from the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce in our next legislative session in Tallahassee, and we need your help to this end. Be receptive and cooperative when we next knock on your door, asking for your help. IT WILL ALL COME BACK TO YOU AND THEN SOME.

Visit ing-report-2023/

Connecting You To Your Business Goals

Commercial Real Estate Loans Commercial Lines of Credit SBA and USDA Loans

(305) 852-2070

Member FDIC

Equal Housing Lender


Monroe County Property Appraisers

What is Market Value picture As everyone begins to receive and review their Notice of Proposed Property taxes, let's breakdown each portion of the Notice. First, let's examine your property's Market Value and how it is determined. The Market Value is not limited or capped and moves based on the market each year. This is not the value your taxes are paid on (unless you are in your first year of ownership and non-homesteaded. More on that later!). The amount of tax you pay is based on your Taxable Value, not your Market Value. What are all these values on my Notice? Market Value, discussed in a previous post, is the most probable price your property would sell for in a competitive open market. There is NO Statutory limit on how much Market Value can go up or down. It is a fluid value that moves based on the actions of buyers and sellers in the market. What is Assessed Value So, what is the Assessed Value and Taxable Value? Assessed Value is a capped or limited value and depends on whether your property is homesteaded or not. If you apply for homestead and it is granted, you will benefit from the "Save Our Homes" Assessment limitation of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or 3% whichever is less on all taxing jurisdictions. For non-homestead, the cap is 10% on all taxing jurisdictions, except for the school millage. The school value is 100% of Market Value, as passed by voters in 2008. In the example below, this property is homesteaded, and the Assessed Value increased 3% from the prior year. This year since the CPI was 7%, the Save Our Homes limitation is 3%, the lower of the two. So last year's Assessed Value of $488,340 multiplied by 1.03 equates to $502,990, as this year's new Assessed Value. For non-homestead property, you would multiply last year's value by 10% for



all taxing jurisdictions, except schools. Regardless, if you are homesteaded or not, your Assessed Value can never be higher than your Market Value. Next, Taxable Value is calculated by subtracting any exemptions that were granted from the Assessed Value. In the example below, the homeowner qualified for homestead exemption in the amount of $50,000. Subtracting $50,000 from this year's Assessed Value of $502,990 equals a Taxable Value of $452,990. Notice the Public Schools Exemption is only $25,000. Per Statute, there is only a $25,000 exemption applied to the School Assessed Value. The Taxable Value is the value your taxes are calculated against. We understand all of this can be quite confusing! So, give us a call and we can go over your values with you. Key West 305-292-3420 Marathon 305-289-2550 Plantation Key 305-853-7353

You’re invited…. to a Ribbon Cutting Thursday September 21- 4:00 to 7:00 PM

Join us to celebrate our new member Epic Title Group 101415 Overseas Hwy Required Register Online or Call 305-451-1414

Your secluded staycation is just a stone’s throw away in Key Largo. Paradise doesn’t require a plane ticket.



County and FWC Discuss $10 Million in Artificial Reef State Funding

Monroe County and FWC officials met in Key West on Tuesday to discuss the next steps after being awarded $10 million from the State to start an artificial reef program in the Florida Keys. The meeting initiated the pre-planning process for the future of a Florida Keys Habitat Support Structure program. Stakeholders from the charter and commercial fishing industry were also in attendance and hopeful for the future of the program to take pressure off of local reefs. "This is just the beginning, but we hope to set up a network of habitats from shallow to deep water that will support natural habitats and fish stocks. We will start with a focus on areas that are easier to permit outside of the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary," said Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi. "Every

journey starts with a first step, and this is our first step." A few months ago, the County acquired 37 50-feet hollow power poles from the Florida Keys Electric Co-op's Sea Oats Beach project in Islamorada, which will likely be used as one of the first projects to be started with the money. Other projects suggested included using concrete fish domes and other ideas used in other counties across the State. There are more than 4,000 clusters of artificial reefs in Florida, and 37 coastal counties in Florida already have an artificial reef program in place. In the Florida Keys, there are 62 artificial reefs, including wrecks, that were mostly placed between 1982-1989. The most recent artificial reef placed in Florida Keys waters was the Vandenberg off Key West in 2009. Artificial reef

Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi meets with local commercial fisherman Johnny Buckheim and charter boat captain Will Benson.

sites are popular among divers and fishermen. The ambitious timeline set forward by FWC included having a draft grant agreement with a proposed initial scope of work by the end of August for approval at the September BOCC meeting. Following FWC's execution of the grant agreement, the

framework for the program, establishing program goals and objectives, finding sites, meeting with stakeholders, and applying for permits will begin. The meeting was recorded and can be viewed at www.monroecounty-fl. gov/mctv under the "On Demand" tab.

Vote-By-Mail Ballot Must Be Requested Each Election Cycle

To request a vote by mail ballot: Request Check your vote-by-mail status: Mail-Status Information about Inactive voters: If the Elections office sends a voter a piece of mail and it is returned to them as undeliverable, that voter is moved to inactive. Inactive voters may vote after they update their address. The

On February 12, 2020, the Monroe County Supervisor of Elections had 11,831 requests for vote-by-mail ballots. As of August 2023, the number of vote by-mail requests for all parties is 7,420. The Elections office wants everyone to know that the law changed and every voter who wants a vote-by-mail ballot must request it each election cycle. Right now, she is taking requests for all of the 2024 election cycle.

number of inactive voters has gone up 1,356 voters from May 2023. Update your address at



Key Largo Flowers & Gifts Ribbon Cutting


11:30 AM to 1:00 PM Members $30.00 pp

(register early pre-registration member discount) Early registration closes September 8 th (No Refunds after 9/12/2023) Late Reservations - $ 35.00 PP (Reservation Cutoff September 12 th at Noon)

Make a Connection Social Networking Luncheon September 14 at the

Join us for lunch to go over some of the effective tactics, valuable tips and strategies for enhancing your business’s social media and digital marketing efforts. This luncheon is about empowering members with the knowledge to make the most of their existing tools. Advance reservations cutoff on September 8 th at noon – No Refunds after reservations close on the 12 th . Seating reserved for registered lunch guests. Walkins on the day of

Guest Speaker Manuela Carrillo Mobley Overseas Media Group & Marketing Committee Member

Register online:

the event there is no guaranteed menu choice. Please call 305.451.1414 if you have questions

Need help with registration? Call 305.451.1414

Key Largo Chamber Board Election

The Key Largo Chamber of Commerce (KLCOC) 2024-2026 Board elections are just around the corner. The election committee is formed and reviewing potential candidates. The purpose of the board is to guide the mission and development of the chamber. Board members are responsible for ensuring that KLCOC fulfills its fiduciary responsibilities to the organization members and are committed to our mission to serve the chamber members. The board of directors, acting as a single entity, is legally and ethically responsible for all organizational activities. Individual board members must uphold the standards of conduct. The board meets monthly and is expected to serve on at least one committee and aid the organization in other capacities. Board members serve a

minimum of two years as ambassadors of the organization. Board members are also expected at the luncheons, members in motion, ribbon cutting, and other chamber events such as the gala, fundraisers, and holiday tree assembly. Candidates will be announced in October, and members will have an opportunity to meet them at the October 12th luncheon. In addition to meeting the candidates, our bylaws allow business members who wish to self-nominate to make their intentions known at the luncheon. If interested in self-nominating, be prepared to speak at the lunch. For more details about the election, or if you are interested in being reviewed to serve on the board, don't hesitate to contact Elizabeth at president@ or 305-451-1414.


Come meet the Key Largo Chamber Board of Director Candidates at the Chamber Luncheon on October 12.



Upcoming Events For More Details Check Our Website Aquanauts to Astronauts Featured Exhibit History of Dive Museum Now through December 31, 2023 September 7th Great Decisions 12:30 PM. Key Largo Library 7th Cirque Salon Homestead Grand Opening 1:00 PM Homestead September 14th Social Networking Lunch 11:30 AM Key Largo Chamber @ the Pilot House September 2023 For event details visit

September 16th Costume Party Fundraiser 6:00 PM Fundraiser Hosted by Michael Rowjewski for the Big Kahuna

September 20th BPW Entrepreneurship Lunch Panel 12:00 P.M. Hosted by BPW @ Playa Largo September 21st Ribbon Cutting 4:00 P.M. Hosted by New Member Epic Title Group

September 28th Members in Motion 5:30 P.M. Hosted by Voyage Blue @ The Murray Nelson Government Center

Key Largo Chamber of Commerce Trustees


How Diversification Can Increase Sales


Diversification is an important aspect of any business. It can help grow sales, increase business value, and improve efficiency by reducing certain costs associated with production and marketing. By diversifying into new markets and products or services, businesses can reduce risk and increase potential for growth. Diversification allows businesses to tap into new customer segments products and services with broader offerings for both current and new customers. With the right strategy, diversification leads to long term growth and higher profits. A Business Strategy: Diversification is a business strategy that involves investing and expanding products, services, and marketing to take advantage of new opportunities. Any business can use diversification as a business strategy. Think of almost any business and how that business can use its current customer base, reputation, marketing, and product or service knowledge to add supplementary products or services to what it currently sells. This is true for retail, service, manufacturing, and even professional service and expand its reach by magnifying current


types of product and market diversification strategies available, so they can make informed decisions about which one is best for their particular business. Reduce Risk: By diversifying a business’s portfolio (products, services, customers), it can reduce risk. Rather than having “all eggs in one basket,” any potential market risk is then spread among a business’s entire portfolio when some type of diversification is

used. While reducing risk on one hand, potential for growth and profitability are increased on the other hand when a business is prepared to take advantage of new opportunities when they arise. Common pitfalls of business diversification must be avoided that include inadequate research, lack of resources, and poor execution. Where to Start: It is not always easy, however, for a business to

Regardless of size,

a business can use diversification as a tool to reduce the impact of market fluctuations on profits, tap into new sources of revenue, and leverage strengths to increase its competitive advantage within its selective markets. Certainly, every diversification strategy is not right for every business. With this in mind, it is important for businesses to understand the different


know where to start on a journey of diversification. A business must: • Research potential marketsRecognize customer needs and preferences • What is the value you bring to potential customers? • Evaluate current trends • Create value-added products or services • Analyze the competition • Design an effective marketing plan • Have the ability to simultaneously manage multiple business segments, products, or services

model is a key part of any successful business, but it can have challenges. By understanding that there will be challenges, a business can be better prepared to implement a diversified business model that will help them succeed in the long run. There might be possible challenges associated with employees, financing, equipment, facilities, or vertical integration as examples. Overall Benefits: Diversification can be a great way to boost a business’s revenue and increase customer loyalty.

solutions by leveraging diversity in a rapidly changing marketplace that can help a business not only stay competitive in the market but can give a business an edge over its competitors. With the right strategies in place, new products or services can help a business reach new customers, expand into new markets, and even enter into untapped markets. By adding new products or services, businesses are able to offer more value to customers by providing them with a wider selection of options and, perhaps, staying ahead of the competition by offering something unique that competitors don't have.

In today’s fast-paced business climate, business diversification is more important than ever. Businesses must be able to recognize and capitalize on opportunities as they arise by understanding customers, the market and industry landscape, and necessary resources. When these items are understood and leveraged, businesses can identify areas for growth and develop plans to capitalize on them. For more information about FREE Business Improvements, and Business Planning, visit:

Regardless of potential roadblocks, businesses can develop innovative

Implementation: A diversified business


Your Chamber Board of Directors

Roberto Alonso 2023 Chairman of the Board of Directors Borland & Associates

Angie Alvarez (2022-2024) First Term

Henry Quintana (2022–2024) First Term Henry Quintana Realty, Inc – Owner/Operator Michael Rojewski (2023–2025) First Term Rojewski & Rebl Group Stephanie A. Russo (2023-2025) Second Term Attorney and Mediator

Centennial Bank – Branch Manager

Manuel Alvarez (2022-2024) First term Verdeja, De Armas & Trujillo, LLP – CPA Spenser Bryan (2023–2025) First Term Captain, Monroe County Sheriff Office Kristine Cox (2023-2025) Second Term Playa Largo Resort & Spa - General Manager

Ruth Schrader-Grace (2022-2024) Third Term Keys Core Fitness- Owner/Operator Spencer Slate (2022 - 2024) last term Captain Slate’s Scuba Adventures - Owner/Operator Blaine Vernicek (2023 - 2025) Third Term The Structure Group – Manager

Kevin Donlan (2022-2024) First Term Publix Supermarkets, Inc - District Director

Melissa Fernandez (2023-2025) Third Term J.A. LaRocco Enterprise/All Keys Concrete, Sales Henry Menendez (2022-2024) Second Term Chairman Elect HNO Productions Inc.- Owner/Operator

Members Who Joined in August

SOS Foundation Contact: Barbara Hann Phone: 561-599-9385 Website: Epic Title Group Contact: Helens Pineiro Phone: 305-451-0032 Website:

Key Largo Tiki Tours Contact: Chris Berinau Phone: 305-879-2881 Website: Lee & Neida LLC CPA Contact: Daniel Nieda Phone: 305-420-6100 Website:

Imaging Educator Contact: Rosina Revuelta PHONE: 786-792-3350 Website: Kate Deloach


August Luncheon Happenings

Guest Speaker Ginette Hughes of MarineLab.

Always great to see our members at the luncheon.

Cindy, Florida Keys Windows; Mary Houston, Insurance; and Tammy Florida, Keys Free Press.

David from Fantastic Endeavors with Board Director Henry Quintana.

Director Kevin Dolan and Jill from the Keys Weekly.

Jennifer from First Horizon with Director Michael Rojewski.

Katie, KW International Airport; Bill, SouthState; and Corey, Monroe County.

Ilja from Voyage Blue with Suzi Marrvelous of Pet Rescue.

New Trustee Member Houston Insurance.

Luis Valladares of Markey


Proudly serving the Upper and Middle Keys since 1940

What You Should Know Before the Power Goes Out

Make sure FKEC has your current phone numbers. When you call FKEC the phone system automatically matches your phone number to your electrical equipment. For faster restoration, make sure the number(s) you are most likely to call from to report an outage are registered to your account. Update at or call 305-852-2431 Make sure FKEC can access your meter equipment. To make repairs FKEC must have 24 hour access to your meter. If your power goes out, check your breakers first. Approximately 33% of all power outages are caused by breaker issues, which are the responsibility of the member to resolve.

Report the outage by call or text. Call 305-852-2431 or Text “outage” to 45183 to report your outage. Note, your mobile number must be pre-registered with FKEC to report via text. Safety first! Stay clear of all downed power lines or electrical equipment. Call 911 to report a downed power line if you feel the situation presents a clear and imminent danger. Then report the wire down to FKEC by calling 305-852-2431. Understand the order of restoration. In the event of a major storm with widespread outages, work is organized to restore power to the greatest number of members in the least amount of time. FKEC also prioritizes restoring power to life and safety situations and essential community services. Following this, crews work to restore power to individual members with isolated issues.


FKEC Meter Based Surge Protection is offered through a device installed at your meter to provide a level of defense for your entire homes electric system.

FKEC “GenSafe” Device is a meter collar device which allows FKEC members to safely and easily connect a portable generator to their home.

Learn more at or call 305-852-2431 to order a device today (supplies may be limited).

305-852-2431 •

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