CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) – The Champaign County Committee of the whole voted to designate 7 members to the Violence Protection Task Force on Tuesday. That will now go in front of the official board to designate as an official task force.

The Champaign County Board is trying to decide how to use its American Rescue Plan Money. They currently have about $40 million to allocate and they’ve been looking where to use that for months now.

Champaign County chair Kyle Patterson is proposing a new task force to help. He wants to use about $4 million from the ARPA funds to address violence across the county.

He wants that task force to have seven council members on it, including himself. They’ll discuss and decide where that money goes.

Patterson said about one million dollars has already been set aside in the current year’s budget for violence protection. He said the board has pledged about 4 million of the ARPA funds too.

Other communities across the country are looking to use this money to help reduce gun violence. Patterson said it’s an important topic.

“I mean, it’s obviously a very complicated issue. It’s an issue that’s been a rising issue for our community. It’s not always obvious the right way to spend that in a way, it’s going to be effective.”

That’s why he said it’s important to have the task force to talk about that. He said the money could go to anything from a new community center, to paying for different programs, but the board has nothing narrowed down right now.

It could be approved at the next board meeting, April 21st. They have to use or allocate the money by the end of 2024.

As for the other ARPA money, the county is looking at using that to help with broadband expansion, particularly in rural areas of the county, facility investments and mental health boards.