Council rededicates the Freese Foundation and its creator Horace E. Freese
By Rachel Mendell
The Galion City Council met for the first time in 2012 to conduct beginning of the year business and assign committees for the new year.
Dick Hottenroth, chair and president of the trustees of the Freese Foundation, attended the meeting to dedicate a new plaque (see box) to the city in memory of Egbert Freese and his gift to the citizens of Galion.
The foundation was created in 1999 for the benefit of the residents of Galion, specifically the maintenance of the parks. Money given to the city could have been “lost in the needs of the community,” he said, or be “the goose that laid the golden egg.”
The $7.5 million fund has grown with careful planning to 10 million, Hottenroth said, and has been set up as a trust that, if cared for, will last indefinitely.
To date, the foundation has delivered $4 million to the residents of Galion with $800,000 of that total being in scholarships to Galion High School graduates.
Hottenroth praised the gift of the trust Horace Freese began in memory of his father Egbert Freese, which has also helped the city of Galion during the recent financial trouble.
Council member Walt Keib, also a member of the foundation board, said, “This man did not get consumed in his own riches.”
Keib said he has watched as students have benefited from scholarships and he looks forward to the day in 2016 when the foundation loan to the city will be paid off and the money can again go toward the parks.
City manager Gene Toy said he had often pondered the photo of Egbert Freese leaning on his golf club with only a few words ascribed to the picture that has been on display in city offices. This new plaque explains who Freese was and why The Freese Foundation exists.
In other business, Gail Baldinger was elected president of council and Walt Keib was elected vice president of council. New members Ken Bodkins and Paul Flannery were in attendance. Member Tom Fellner was excused from the meeting.
Committees were set up for the new year. Roberta Wade will chair the finance committee with Walt Keib and Gail Baldinger as members. Cathy George will head up the laws and ordinances committee with Roberta Wade and Tom Fellner attending as committee members. The planning zoning and utilities committee will be lead by Tom Fellner with members Gail Baldinger and Ken Bodkins. Parks and recreations will be chaired by Ken Bodkins with members Paul Flannery and Cathy George.
Planning zoning and utilities will meet the fourth Tuesday of each month at 6:15 p.m. Laws and ordinance will meet the second Tuesday of each month after the city council meeting. Finance committee … Parks and recreation committee will meet the second Tuesday of each month at 6:15 p.m.
In legislation, the council passed a number of housekeeping issues done each year including the annual materials ordinance, the council rules, and the agreement with Crawford metropolitan Housing Authority. The council passed the ordinance to pursue funding for a new dump truck and plow. The old 22-year-old vehicle will be given to the electric line department as a spare. The council approved financing for SCADA at the wastewater plant that will fund new data readers ($125,000) needed to gather information that needs to be reported to the Environmental Protection Agency. This has been in the budget since 2011. Belinda Miller said the bond rate is looking good – 1.95 percent and hopefully better.
The council also reappointed Dennis Long to the Galion Board of Health.
The next meeting of the Galion City Council will be Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. in council chambers. The public is encouraged to attend.
The finance committee will meet with Sawvel representatives to discuss utility rates at 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 26 at the city building. Wade explained the electric ordinance was tabled so that more research could be done including further information from the electric rate study done by Sawvel. Wade said it looked like there was an increase in the tax collection of $1 million from last year and asked that the finance department double check their numbers. Wade also feels the electric rates should not be raised since the electric fund is up to $6.5 million as an ending balance for 2011.
George said laws and ordinances committee are looking at electric wiring legislation and tighter rules for recycling (claim of ownership).
Toy said the city is still in discussions with MedFlight for the proposed use of the Galion Airport for one of the company’s bases. He said he attended a webinar on local government funding which gives $50 million statewide with 80 percent in loans and only 20 percent in grant money. “It’s nice for the politicians sending out sound bites, but it’s not going to do a whole lot,” he said.
Toy then praised city offices for watching their spending. In the general fund only 80.1 percent of budgeted money was used by administration, 97.1 percent by council (there was an unexpected retirement), 86 percent by civil service and the city only spent 82.4 percent of its budget last year. “Thanks to everyone that works here and has a say in spending a dollar.”
Note: Gail Baldinger and Ken Bodkins were sworn in upstairs by Judge Leuthold on December 6, 2011. The courtroom was fairly packed with family and friends. Paul Flannery was sworn in over at Bucyrus by Judge Leuthold on December 7, 2011.
* The dedication plaque is on display in the city building reception area.
Following are the words on the new dedication plaque for the Freese Foundation in honor of Horace E. Freese -
Mr. Horace E. Freese was an industrialist and longtime resident of the City of Galion, graduating from Galion High School in 1906. He was the youngest son of Egbert M. and Rosina Freese. The Freese family was of Dutch descent and first settled in New York, later moving to Massachusetts before finally settling in Ohio.
Horace’s father Egbert Freese was born in Brunswick, Ohio. In 1880, Egbert Freese established a factory in Plymouth, Ohio for the manufacture of clay work machinery and later moved the factory to Galion due to its fine labor force. In 1882 Egbert married Rosina Berger and they had three sons: Herbert, Arthur and Horace. In 1891 Egbert established the E. M. Freese & Co. (Freese Works) to fabricate machinery for brick and tile production. This was one of Galion’s leading industries in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Starkey Machinery Inc. purchased the E. M. Freese & Co. in 1957.
In 1961, Horace Freese prepared a will. This will included the establishment of a trust fund now known as the Egbert M. Freese Foundation (in commemoration of his father) with the benefactor of this foundation to be the City of Galion. Income from this fund may be used for the upkeep or improvement of city parks/facilities, college scholarships to worthy Galion High School graduates, or any other purposes suitable to the memory of Egbert M. Freese.
Horace Freese died March 26, 1963, but Horace and Egbert Freese will long be remembered in Galion for their contributions to local industry and their generous gifts to the people of this community. This foundation still supports community development and city improvements in Galion today. The City expresses its sincerest gratitude to Horace E. Freese and the Freese Family for such community-minded generosity to the City of Galion and its residents.