Farmingdale residents and businesses begin getting their water bills on a quarterly basis next month.

On July 6, the village board of trustees adopted a new local law to go to the quarterly system -- instead of an annual one -- for their water department's billing. The shift was made possible with a software upgrade last year.

"It's better for the residents because now they don't get hit with that huge bill in one big shot -- it's broken down into four pieces," Mayor Ralph Ekstrand said in an interview. He added, "it also gives the village cash flow instead of waiting one time a year to get all the revenue."

The village takes in about $1 million a year in water revenue, he said.

The August bill will cover May, June and July water usage.

Ekstrand said the village's roughly 2,300 water customers have been asking for the change for years.

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The system was upgraded from a Xenix computer system installed in the 1990s that was unable to issue quarterly bills to a Windows-based system created by the Springbrook Corp., he said.

Earlier this year, Springbrook was acquired by Accela Inc. based in San Ramon, California.

Errol Ross, president of Hardscrabble Real Estate in Farmingdale, said the new billing system was a welcome change, "to make it easier for residents to make their payments."

Ross said that a resident's annual water bill, when it includes lawn sprinklers, can be close to $600.

"A lot of people, especially retired people, can be hurt by a large bill; and water has gone up over the years," Ross said.