This volume includes all the major research reports produced by the staff of the Rent Guidelines Board during the 1995 guideline "season." Of all these projects, the 1995 Price Index of Operating Costs for Rent Stabilized Apartment Houses (PIOC) is certainly the most resource intensive. The price index requires hundreds of hours of staff time to complete; by the time the PIOC is wrapped up, the endurance of its participants is usually stretched to the limit.

Andrew McLaughlin was in charge of the vendor and owner surveys, which are critical components of the PIOC. As usual, Andrew did an exceptional job organizing materials for the survey and supervising our temporary survey workers. The quality of the data gathered was better than ever and the productivity of the temporary survey staff reached another all time high.

Everyone on the RGB research staff contributed to the PIOC in some way. Sharon Kuhn gathered data on labor costs. Andrew McLaughlin assembled the utilities and fuel cost information. Ted Fields was primarily responsible for our PIOC projection for 1996.

Speedwell Inc. worked with RGB staff to compute the tax and water/sewer components of the price index. Finally, no acknowledgments would be complete without mentioning our PIOC temporary survey workers. Many thanks for diligent efforts to: Shirley Alexander, Louise Bordley, Christian Floyd, Mia-Simone Graham and Darryl Johnson.

Apart from their work on the PIOC, the RGB staff should be commended for several other fine efforts. As a new staff member, Sharon Kuhn faced a very challenging assignment in the Small Buildings Study. She acquitted herself admirably. Ted Fields helped design the Residential Tax Foreclosure Study. His determined pursuit of a high response rate and excellent synthesis of the survey results resulted in a concise but powerful study.

The RGB benefited greatly from the assistance of several city and state agencies. The Department of Finance (DOF) prepared files used in computing changes in real estate taxes for the PIOC. For the sixth year, DOF also supplied the RGB with crucial data from owner income and expense (I&E) filings. Alisa Avruch produced much of this information, often under tight time constraints. We would like to thank Julie Walpert for acting as liaison with the DOF on these and other matters and Doug Layne for help with other Finance Department issues.

Commissioner Wright and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) assisted with several projects, including provision of data on tax abatements and in rem housing. A number of other agencies also supported this year's research agenda. The Department of City Planning supplied the RGB with important data on real estate tax arrears. Co-op conversion data was obtained from the New York State Attorney General's Office. The New York State Public Service Commission, the New York City Water Board and the Department of Environmental Protection also provided information and relevant data for a number of this year's research projects.

Two disclaimers must be made regarding this report. First, this volume includes only RGB staff research. The Board was also provided with a wide variety of additional sources of information, including written submissions and oral testimony from building owners, tenants, housing scholars, public officials and other interested parties. In addition, although this report does include a summary of the Board's guidelines for 1995-96, it is not intended as an explanation of these guidelines. Those who are interested in this issue should consult the Board's explanatory statements which are issued in conjunction with this year 's rent orders.

Douglas Hillstrom
Director of Research