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At the February 21 County Council meeting, the contract for gravel hauling and loading from 2017-2019 was awarded to Howell’s Excavating Ltd. The contract comes with an option for an additional two years of service, at the discretion of Red Deer County. Gravel hauling and loading is an important piece of the overall County road service level, as the majority of County roads are gravel, and require servicing each year. A total of seven compliant bids were accepted and scored, with Howell’s receiving the top mark.According to Mayor Jim Wood, “Having a process that takes into account multiple factors – including cost, reputation, and service level, makes me very confident moving forward. We are very pleased to have such an effective process in place, and I for one am happy that price is not the one and only factor in our decision.”Having a contractor with a proven track record was an important consideration for Operations staff as well. Staff are the ones who receive complaints from ratepayers regarding roads, and then must relay any feedback to contractors regarding their work. Increased complaints can often take up staff time that is better off spent on other projects.Local knowledge was another important factor in the decision, as local weather and soils play a major role in how roads can be maintained over time. Proximity of personnel is also important, as response times are always a factor in overall service levels.