Thomas Hacker was in town last week to show the public a master plan for what the new city hall might look like. It’s good work wasted, I’m afraid. By the city’s own calculations, the project will top $100 million and may approach double that, depending on when they get the money and whether building expenses continue to soar at their current rate or slow because of the mortgage crisis and economic slowdown. People I talked to were amazed and encouraged that so many people were so positive about the project. But from what I understand, those people were never told what it would cost, much less asked if they would be willing to pay for it. Consensus is easy to reach in our town when money is no object. I’m afraid that the beautiful designs we saw last week will be old news by the time the funding question comes before voters, and they’ll be saying “what have you done for me lately?” It’s like bring your wife flowers on Tuesday, hoping she’ll have sex with you on Friday. Cause and effect can’t be too far removed. Everybody was listened to. All those ideas were used to make this design. But when the public is asked to pay the bill, will they remember the warm feelings they felt a couple years earlier when the public outreach campaign was done?