Litchfield has a new budget. Without objections, the city council agreed to a budget plan that is in the black, producing a positive balance despite sales taxes that have been slowed by the pandemic. Covid relief money helped balance out that shortfall. Among the highlights of the budget is money for a new street dept building. Speaking of budgets, the council also voted to keep spending blueprint architect Jereme Zook of Kerber, Eck and Braeckel on board as budget officer. Facing a mix of mandates and needs, the council also agreed to a 2-year plan to increase sewer rates 12% each year for fiscal years 2022-2023 and 8% for 2023-2024 to cover maintenance and operational costs. The city is also getting help from Congressman Rodney Davis in a bid for federal dollars to help with sewer upgrades. Meanwhile, Lincoln Land Community College is facing overwhelming demand for their trucking school at the Springfield campus. Mayor Steve Dougherty says interested students face a five to six month wait. Now part of the solutions appears to be bringing additional training opportunities In college big rigs to the L-L-C-C Litchfield Center. The City won’t have to invest in the project to make it happen. The council approved a Memorandum of Understanding with Lincoln Land and Litchfield School District. The city’s support was needed for Lincoln Land to seek USDA grant dollars for the project. In football, they say next man up. The same thought can be applied to the Litchfield Fire Dept. Bob Beechler was honored as he is retiring after 13 years of volunteer service and received a standing ovation. Last night, Jeremy Heigert was sworn in to become the latest volunteer member of the dept. He will now undergo 180 hours of training before scoring his own space at the firehouse.