DGS Written Testimony of Leah Harnish

Testimony of Leah Harnish
Policy Analyst
Casey Trees
April 4, 2019
Performance and Oversight Hearing DC Department of General Service
Before the D.C. Council Committee on Facilities and Procurement

Good afternoon Chairman White and Councilmembers. My name is Leah Harnish and I am the Policy Analyst at Casey Trees. Thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today.

As an organization that regularly engages with volunteers on tree care and maintenance, we recognize the amount of work it takes to support so many areas across the District and would like to thank the Department of General Service for their hard work. We recognize that their successes frequently go unrecognized and commend them for the part they play in maintaining vibrant communities across all eight wards. We are here today to support their funding, so they can continue to do great work.

Because of the diversity of its work, DGS frequently works with other agencies on the operations and maintenance of different facilities. From schools and recreation centers to parks and tree boxes, DGS works to ensure that all aspects of public land are seamlessly maintained. But this is impossible to do without adequate funding. We applaud Mayor Bowser for her proposed 5.6 percent increase in DGS’ overall operating budget. We are especially proud of the increase in facilities funding for both public schools and parks and recreation centers. These public spaces are the pillars of communities in all eight wards and keeping them properly maintained will ensure that they will be able to be used for years to come.

However, DGS does more than just facilities repair, they also aim to bring District owned buildings into the future. DGS’ green building goals is a testament to the District’s dedication to sustainable development and we are excited to see a proposed $1 million in intra-district funds between DGS and DOEE to support Sustainable D.C. renewable energy initiatives.

And part of this conscious development relies on coordination with federal and District agencies. These collaborations take both time and resources, because of this, we are happy that the Mayor chose to increase funding for RFK maintenance and we urge the Council to also support this funding.

The dedication of DGS and its various management divisions to maintaining the quality of life for D.C. residents is something that should be commended. Casey Trees applauds DGS’ diligence and urges the Council to approve the Mayor’s proposed funding for DGS to allow them to continue to do their important work.

I thank you for your time and welcome any questions.