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DC DMV Testimony Before Committee on Transportation and the Environment

Friday, April 17, 2015

DC DMV Testimony Before Committee on Transportation and the Environment

Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Oversight Hearing

Testimony of Lucinda Babers, Director
Before the Committee on Transportation and the Environment
Council of the District of Columbia
April 17, 2015
Room 123
John A. Wilson Building
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20004
Good morning Chairperson Cheh, members and staff of the Committee.  I am Lucinda Babers, the Director of the Department of Motor Vehicles.  I am pleased to testify before you today on Mayor Browser’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2016 Budget, entitled “Pathways to the Middle Class”.  As Mayor Bowser recently testified before the Council, each agency plays a critical part in ensuring District residents in all 8 Wards have the education, economic opportunity, public safety, neighborhoods, environment, and infrastructure they need to reach the middle class. Mayor Bower’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2016 Budget submission will ensure our agency and the entire government have the necessary staff and resources to help meet these ambitious goals.
This budget is the product of an unprecedented amount of outreach. The Mayor held three budget engagement forums attended by hundreds of residents that described how they would allocate an imaginary $100 towards key issues facing the District.  The Mayor’s budget staff also met with Councilmembers and their staff to incorporate their priorities in the budget. Finally, the Mayor and her senior leadership met with numerous community groups as part of the development of this budget.  All of this work on the front end gave us a much better budget as a result, and we will continue that kind of outreach, transparency, and accountability—including these hearings led by the Council—to fine tune and implement the Fiscal Year 2016 budget.
Prior to all of my hearings, I like to extend a special thanks to the men and women in the department whose dedication and efforts make it possible for us to service the customers of the District.  I am delighted to call such dedicated individuals my “co-workers” and thank them for allowing me to be a part of Team DMV. The FY16 proposed budget continues to support our Department’s mission to promote public safety by ensuring the safe operation of motor vehicles.  DMV provides service to over 576,000 licensed drivers/identification card holders and 296,000 registered vehicles at four service centers.  We provide adjudication services and collect ticket payments for more than 2.1 million tickets each year.  We also conduct over 187,000 annual vehicle inspections.  DMV interacts with DC residents and non-residents, with an average of 3,200 daily customer contacts, more than almost any other District government agency.
Let me now briefly describe my plans for the agency in the coming fiscal year.  To arrive at our FY16 Current Services Funding Level, there were several across the board measures taken.  This included a net increase of $550,147 in personal services for fringe benefits, cost of living adjustments and approved compensation agreements.  There were additional increases in the amount of $149,973 and 179,735 to account for inflation and the transfer of attorneys from the Office of the Attorney General, respectively. 
The proposed FY16 budget contains an increase of $422,020 for employee step increases and fringe benefits cost projections.  This $422,020 increase was offset by decreases in information technology hardware/software costs and lower inventory projections.  There is also an elimination of one vacant driver examiner position for a cost savings of $71,487.  Additionally, an $819,000 reduction reflects a duplication of fixed cost in both DMV and the Department of General Services’ budgets.
The proposed FY16 budget contains an overall $102,000 decrease in special purpose funds.  This decrease is mainly a reflection of a lower inspection station fund revenue projection.  There is also a decrease of $2.3 million in the Metropolitan Police Department’s intra-district transfer to DMV for ticket processing related to a lower historical trend in photo enforcement issuance.  
In terms of capital funds, the proposed FY16 budget includes a restoration of $5.5 million for a new ticket processing contract and $3 million for a new licensing/ registration system.  Since DMV cannot service customers without technology systems, it is critical to continue to invest in upgraded systems.  The proposed funds to replace these two systems will allow us to streamline internal operations by providing greater flexibility to make system changes such as adding a new title brand, updating the database with new hybrid vehicle models and creating ad-hoc adjudication reports.  These enhancements will ultimately benefit customers by allowing for a more nimble organization.
Overall, I am pleased to report the FY16 proposed DMV budget will allow us to meet all our operational responsibilities.
The resources allocated to the agency in the Mayor’s proposed Fiscal Year 2016 budget will be critical in achieving our mission and helping to grow and preserve the middle class.  The Council and this Committee, led by you Chairperson Cheh, have been key allies in this effort, and I appreciate your continued efforts to ensure we operate efficiently and effectively.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify today and I look forward to answering any questions the Committee may have.