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SBA administrator tours local recycling facility

By M.J. Subiria Arauz

marauz@news-daily.com

The first government-permitted facility for the recovery and recycling of construction waste materials, within 250 miles of Atlanta, is a reality today, with the aid of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), according to Jim Hightower, a spokesman for the SBA Georgia Office.

An SBA loan provided key financing for the business, and the agency provided other assistance as well for MBA Waste Enterprises' materials recovery facility, in Union City.

SBA Administrator Karen Mills recently toured MBA Waste Enterprises' facility. Construction of the complex was recently completed.

"This is fabulous, and I'm delighted to be here," said Mills. "I know we were really a part of helping you create this ...This will be a ripple effect for the whole community."

Mills said the SBA is proud to help small businesses, which create 50 percent of jobs in the U.S. "Governments are not going to help create more jobs, businesses are," she said.

Hightower added that, though MBA Waste Enterprises has 47 workers at another facility, it will hire 30 employees here, because its new facility will allow it to recycle 50 tons of construction materials per day.

Union City Councilman Vince Williams said the council wanted to be sure the facility was going to create jobs for the local area, when the project was first introduced to the city.

"One of the things we wanted to make sure they'd do is, certainly, create jobs, not just for Union City, but for its surrounding areas," said Williams. "Union City embraced this, and we are so proud of it."

Hightower said a $2.1 million SBA, 504 Development Loan helped finance the new recycling facility in south Fulton County. Another benefit of the loan was that: MBA Waste Enterprises was able to save more than $19,000 in fees that were waived under provisions of the Small Business Jobs Act.

The company will also have smaller annual payments, since they will be distributed over a "pay-back" schedule of 20 years, Hightower said.

The amount of the loan is a combination of $1.1 million in funds from the Bank of North Georgia, and $949,000 from the Economic Development Corporation, a SBA Certified Development Company in Gainesville, Ga., he said.

"About 10 percent of the 504 package came from the borrower," he added.

Carol Mitchell, co-owner of MBA Waste Enterprises, acknowledged that the SBA loan allowed the company to construct the facility at a much faster pace. "We couldn't have done it without SBA," she said.

Mitchell said the loan will allow the company to save more than $30,000 a month, by not paying to dump waste materials in landfills, as well as being able to produce recovery income from the recycled items.

According to Mitchell, the facility sits on an eight-acre tract, and includes a 41,000-square-foot industrial building, a sorting system that separates materials being recycled, and a reduction grinder to make materials for other uses.

The materials recycled at the facility, said Mitchell, include concrete, wood, metal, paper, plastic and carpet. "Our customers are construction companies," she explained.

She said one of her biggest customers is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The airport has been a customer since 2009, and the company is currently recycling construction materials resulting from the building of the Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal, she said.

Materials that are recycled come through Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) construction projects, said Mitchell.

"Through a LEED designation, the company is able to generate end-user certificates that are given to its customers, as required documentation for green tax credits," added Hightower, of the SBA.