So I was proven right when I predicted, in my city hall blog, that council's finance committee would back the OPP costing recommendation, if only to move it to the full council.
But that was an easy one. Backers of an OPP costing, as well as the impartial middle – small as it is – would have been justifiably outraged had a debate of this importance not gone to the full council table.
It's my second prediction that now stands to be proven wrong.
My read on council, before Wednesday's finance, administration and operations committee meeting, had a majority of members striking down Mayor David Henderson's costing request once it got to the full council table.
It struck me as a supremely divisive issue to be fighting over in an election year, especially for a council that slugged through a bloody MDC battle in the last election.
On Wednesday, however, there was a discernible shift in the wind.
For starters, committee members were more willing to be critical, perhaps bordering on testy, with police services board chairman King Yee Jr. over those six-digit savings he is not allowed to disclose to the rest of us.
In fairness, there's little reason to doubt Yee is genuinely constrained by provincial regulations governing the privacy of individuals. That's because there's no reason to doubt individuals, or specifically their salaries, are the only remaining area where the proverbial ducks are to be hunted for true savings.
Still, it's not the secrecy of the savings that's the issue here, but the committee's reaction to it. I suspect the script, as anticipated by municipal police supporters, included an easier ride for the police board after it came up with over $872,000 in “potential” savings.
Instead, we had Leigh Bursey – hardly one of the fiscal hawks on council – pointedly asking why the board needed the threat of an OPP costing to get it to find these cuts.
Then we had Jane Fullarton, who went on to vote against the costing motion, grill the chairman about the fact these cost cuts are secret.
What this signals is an unwillingness, despite the outpouring of support out there for the city police force, to give it an easy ride, much less a free one.
That's a marked difference from last November, when the finance committee deferred discussion of the costing motion until now, giving the municipal force a fighting chance to organize after Henderson's surprise move.
What followed in Wednesday's debate was a near consensus on the committee that, whether or not one feels strongly about keeping the city police, the city has to get the number to make an informed choice.
After the meeting, it seemed increasingly clear the winds have shifted to the point where this conclusion – the desirability of getting the costing first – has become the majority view.
Whether that's the majority view in the community is a different matter.
So is the view, which I have expressed here, that this costing is, by its very nature, about more than getting a number.
The fact is, like it or not, unless I am missing some random variable in the political equation, the let's-get-the-number-first opinion has a slight to moderate majority on council.
If I am right, a few consequences emerge.
First, we will all have to fasten our seatbelts for a long and divisive debate, bleeding into and out of a long and divisive 2014 election cycle. Numbers have no emotions, but people do.
Second, the local advocacy group Citizens Offering Police Support (COPS) will dig in and grow, until it becomes as prominent and vocal a local organization as Citizens Brockville was during the official plan and MDC debates.
COPS will also adjust its strategy to fit a marathon rather than a race, and that adjustment will likely include a rematch for the mayor's seat between Henderson and COPS chairwoman Louise Severson.
And third, city councillors will seize on the opportunity to squeeze even more savings out of the existing police force over the 18-month-to-two-year span of the costing process. Some will call this extortion, while others will call this politics.
And finally, when those two years are over, the OPP will have received its provincially promised pay increase; arbitration reform will have proved insufficient to rein in police costs; and a majority of council will opt to stick with the Brockville Police Service, if only to have a slightly higher degree of control over the budget.
That's when people will start asking questions like: “Was it all really worth it?”
But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
City hall reporter Ronald Zajac's city column appears every other Friday. He can be reached at 613-342-4441, ext. 257, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @RipNTearRon, or read his civic affairs blog at www.ronaldzajac.com.