Council for the RM of Ritchot would like to see a change in how municipalities are reimbursed for costs incurred from flooding. At its last meeting, Council agreed to support a motion from the Rural Municipality of Morris. 

The RM of Morris Council wants the provincial and federal governments to help cover some of the carrying costs of disaster cleanup. Morris Council has passed a resolution requesting the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) and Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) lobby both levels of government for a change to their respective disaster financial assistance (DFA) programs. 

According to RM of Morris Reeve Scott Siemens, interest charges being incurred by municipalities are currently not eligible. He notes typically DFA claims are all covered, but the municipality must pay for them before getting reimbursed. This results in interest charges. 

Mitch Duval is Chief Administrative Officer for the RM of Ritchot. He says their DFA claim for the 2022 flood was about $2.1 million. Duval says Ritchot has already been approved for and received approximately $700,000. However, the municipality is paying interest on the remaining $1.4 million that has not been received. Duval says this works out to about $4,100 per month in interest. 

"It's taking time to get the DFA," adds Ritchot Mayor Chris Ewen. "There's always interest, and it costs a municipality, it costs the residents money when we are not getting either that money back or those projects done, and it takes longer to do."

At its last meeting, Ritchot Council agreed to support the resolution by the RM of Morris. 

"That's a huge, huge must," notes Ewen. "I'm looking forward to seeing what the AMM has to say about that and lobbying with us to get some of those expenses back."

According to Duval, DFA is a federal program that is administered by the province. He notes there are alternatives to try and speed up the refund and alleviate the interest expense. 

With files from Candace Derksen