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City celebrates garbage truck from Chihuahua company - Odessa American: City Of Odessa

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City celebrates garbage truck from Chihuahua company

Officials say deal marks step forward for Mexico Initiative

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Posted: Thursday, September 22, 2016 5:45 pm

The City of Odessa received a new garbage truck body from Chihuahua, Mexico, on Thursday in what city officials touted as a money-saving measure that marks a success in the Mexico Initiative, a years-long economic development effort.

The truck body, built by Kuzzy International, cost $76,483, or about $30,000 less than the side-loaders the city buys in the United States, City Manager Richard Morton said. Plans call for a lease-to-buy arrangement for the Kuzzy side-loader while the city tests the custom-made vehicle. Morton said officials should know for sure in about six months how well the truck performs and expected the vehicle to perform well.

“This is a custom truck for the City of Odessa, built to withstand our alleys, and we expect great things from this truck,” Morton said. “If it performs, and if we can keep that price down, we are going to have a long, long partnership. And hopefully not just Odessa buying these, but other cities across Texas and the states. So this is the beginning of beautiful friendship.”

The city also buys about six such units a year, Morton said.

City officials celebrated the arrival of the garbage truck body, affixed to the same truck and chassis as the city trucks already in use, with speeches and a mariachi band at a catered event outside City Hall. Morton said he asked Kuzzy during a 2015 trip to Chihuahua as part of the city-funded Mexico Initiative whether they could manufacture the side-loaders.

Mexico Initiative Chairman Raymond Chavez said the side-loader is “the first product from Mexico into Odessa (as a result of the Mexico Initiative) and it happens to be what you are seeing right here in front of me.” One of the major goals of the effort is to develop a distribution center for goods of various Mexican companies, including Kuzzy.

Kuzzy, which is also incorporated in the United States and whose owners say they want to open a maintenance shop here, began building the side-loader about four months ago.

“Why is this exciting?” Mayor David Turner said. “Because it is a business that is coming to Odessa. And, most importantly, it’s going to be an economic influx into the City of Odessa. But even better, the City of Odessa is going to save $30,000 a unit by buying from Kuzzy.”

Turner said the truck is of better quality than the existing garbage trucks and that he hopes the city will buy more in the future.

“This is not just about building a product in Mexico — It’s about building a partnership, bringing a company from Mexico here that can be able to service it and be able to provide the same service to other cities once it opens up,” Kuzzy owner Antonio Solis said in Spanish, with his remarks translated by District 5 Councilman Filiberto Gonzales.

In a follow-up interview in English, Solis said he wants to open up a maintenance shop in Odessa to service the vehicles, eventually hiring about 10 employees. Ultimately, Solis said he wants to participate in the distribution center developed by a cluster of Mexican businessmen and hopes to establish a base of operations for manufactured items sold in the United States.

The Mexico Initiative, begun in 2014, again faced criticism through the budget process this year from some board members of the Odessa Development Corporation, which directly oversees the economic development effort spearheaded by the Odessa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Board members at times pointed to a need for professional leadership, a lack of material results and recordkeeping that required outside help.

But the Odessa City Council on Sept. 13 looked past those issues and ratified the ODC budget for the effort. The approved budget amounts to more than $222,000 for the Mexico Initiative overseen by the Hispanic Chamber, which doesn’t include funds for other agencies such as CVA Advertising & Marketing for work on behalf of the effort.

The Hispanic Chamber’s Mexico Initiative reflects a decline from this year, because the ODC swapped more than $81,000 for an international director with $25,000 to pay a headhunter to fill the vacant position. But the budget would stand to increase once the position is filled.

Odessa, TX

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