BUDGET OVERSIGHT HEARING ON FISCAL YEAR 2017
Testimony of Lucinda Babers, Director Department of Motor Vehicles
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 2017 Budget which highlights that each agency plays a critical part in ensuring District residents, in all 8 Wards, have the opportunity for a fair shot to reach the middle class. Mayor Bower’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2017 Budget submission will ensure our agency and the entire District government have the necessary staff and resources to help meet these ambitious goals.
This budget is the product of considerable public 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. 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 2017 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 FY17 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 606,000 licensed drivers/identification card holders and 303,000 registered vehicles at four service centers. We provide adjudication services and collect ticket payments for more than 2.4 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 DMV’s proposed budget for the coming fiscal year. To arrive at our FY17 Current Services Funding Level, there were several across the board measures taken. This included an increase of $775,511 for fringe benefits, cost of living adjustments, approved compensation agreements and inflation.
The proposed FY17 budget contains several movements of positions between programs to align full-time equivalents (FTEs) to accurately reflect operations. Although most of these changes are a net in FTEs and cost, there was a 3 FTE reduction to eliminate DMV cashier positions that were already in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer’s budget. However, DMV is still responsible for intra-districting $170,000 to the OCFO in support of these cashiers who play an integral role in our service center operations.
To support a potential transfer in Adjudication Services to another agency, in accordance with a study requirement in the Transportation Reorganization Act of 2016, $671,000 in security services were funded with local funds versus special purpose funds in FY17. Additionally, $705,000 in intra-district funds is being used to support Adjudication Services’ personnel as it relates to the photo enforcement program. There is also a $478,351 reduction in intra-district funds, primarily due to a reduction in the photo enforcement program Metropolitan Police Department funding.
In terms of capital funds, the proposed FY17 budget includes an additional $3 million for a new licensing/registration system. Our FY16 request of $6 million was divided into $3 million in FY16 and $3 million in FY17. Since DMV cannot service customers without technology systems, it is critical to continue to invest in upgraded systems. The proposed funds to replace the licensing/registration system 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 reports. These enhancements will ultimately benefit customers by allowing for a more nimble organization.
Overall, I am pleased to report the FY17 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 2017 budget will be critical in achieving our mission and helping to grow and preserve a pathway to 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, effectively and within budget.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify today, and I look forward to answering any questions the Committee may have.