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DMV Seeks Funding to Move Field Office

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed 2023-2024 Fiscal Year budget has less money in it than last year for the California Department of Motor Vehicles, but the department is seeking funding via a budget change proposal to relocate a field office and is in the early stages of a system replacement.

The DMV headquarters building.
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In confronting an estimated $22.5 billion shortfall, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed $297 billion 2023-2024 Fiscal Year budget would cut funding for one of California’s best-known state departments.

In his 2023-2024 FY proposed budget, which he released Jan. 10, Newsom suggests giving the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) about $1.495 billion. That’s roughly 11.4 percent less than the $1.688 billion it received in FY 2022-2023. That $1.688 billion was, in turn, approximately an 8 percent increase from the $1.56 billion DMV was set to receive in the enacted FY 2022-2023 state budget (all figures with rounding). Sheer numbers aside, however, it’s clear DMV’s tech-forward stance and work in IT and innovation will continue moving forward. Among the takeaways:

  • Newsom mentioned the department prominently in his budget summary. In a segment titled “Modernizing the Department of Motor Vehicles,” the governor said the department “continues to make improvements towards its IT modernization efforts, and prior year investments have allowed the DMV to shift how the public conducts business with many workload transactions now processed online.” DMV, he added, is advancing toward “more modern systems that allow more Californians to use the Internet as a portal for conducting transactions electronically.”
  • A new Queuing and Appointment System Replacement (QASR) is likely to be among them. According to the California Department of Technology’s (CDT) Project Approval Lifecycle process for IT projects, DMV will need to replace the system due to the expiration of support in December and to “leverage new advancement to incorporate COVID business rules, optimize customer experience and (enhance) reporting.” The project’s goals include providing “simpler, faster ways to fulfill customer needs through expanded digital services,” cutting wait times and enabling staff to be more customer-focused; and safeguarding customers’ information, according to CDT’s Stage 1 Business Analysis. DMV is also underway on the large-scale Digital eXperience Platform (DXP) modernization intended to replace and update software, hardware and programming language in core legacy systems, estimated at a three- to five-year process.
  • DMV currently has three budget change proposals, two of which have no intersection with IT work. The third, however, the Banning Field Office Relocation, could potentially yield IT innovation work. DMV, which runs 247 facilities around the state — including an estimated 1.6 million gross square feet of state-owned properties and 1.2 million gross square feet of agency-leased properties — wants to move its Banning field office to a “permanent leased office” near Banning. It seeks $50,000 in FY 2023/24, $2.3 million in FY 2024/25, $515,000 in FY 2025/26, $540,000 in FY 26/27 and $566,000 in FY 27/28 and ongoing for a “new leased Banning Field Office.” DMV’s current Banning location lacks space and parking and has a significant need for building renovations. Approving an estimated nearly $2.3 million in one-time costs and $515,000 ongoing for 12-month lease costs, DMV said in the budget change proposal, will enable it to meet customer service demand more quickly and with less upfront costs than a capital outlay project. DMV supports this option; however, among the alternatives also proposed, capital outlay funding to replace the existing field office would require an estimated $36.4 million, with rounding, in land and building costs.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.