At the City of Kingston Common Council meeting last night, the aldermen signed off on city vouchers — “general bills.” This included many services and administrative costs such as phone, electric and plumbing bills.
I was a little stunned to see a bill paid to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for $5,210.72. According to the city clerk’s office, the bill was for gifts that were purchased for homeless kids and victims of domestic violence — a noble cause indeed. But why did they have to buy the gifts at Wal-Mart, which is in the Town of Ulster and a company that sends its profits back to Bentonville, Ark.?
In the spirit of “being local” and “buying local” the city should be a good neighbor and patronize local shops and businesses.
For toys, there’s a great toy store on lower Broadway in the Rondout, next to the Kingston Foods & Garden site. There’s also Bop to Tottom in the uptown and the Parent Teacher Store as well. These are local businesses that need our support. Wal-Mart does not.
In all fairness, there are other local businesses that sell goods and services to the city. The general bills from last night included money spent with Binnewater Ice, Herzog’s, Timely Signs, and Speigel Bros. Paper Co.
But the city can do a better job of supporting more local businesses, and it should look more carefully at what it can source from within the city.