The hours are counting down to what could be the most significant vote by a Brockville council since the approval of the Tall Ships Landing agreement. It's C-Day, costing day, or what could be the start of a long and bitter cost-analysis for an Ontario Provincial Police service contract.

And right on time for C-Day, supporters of the costing have the opportunity to dig up some old ammunition. Yesterday's police services board meeting offered up a timely reminder of the huge spike in police wages this year.

The city has budgeted for a nine-per-cent increase in wages and benefits, and that's just officials' best estimate of what will come down later this year, since the collective agreement calls for 2013 wages based on the average salary of four comparator police forces.

This is a "catch-up year" in the four-year collective agreement, and the steepness of that catch-up will be an advantage to supporters of a switch to the OPP.

It's important to remember, however, that the OPP will also get to play catch-up next year, when it gets to be the highest paid police force in Ontario as per its own agreement with the province.

Ironically, municipal police forces will be largely responsible for how high the OPP wages get to spike in 2014. Brockville's nine-or-more-per-cent increase likely won't play much of a role in this, but, as my colleagues at the Toronto Sun have pointed out, the OPP will be playing catch-up with that city's police force.

Putting an end to this game of catch-up is the subject of a different debate. Well, two debates, really: one on arbitration reform, and another on the need for fiscal restraint at Queen's Park.

For us here in little old Brockville, the nut of the argument hinges less on salaries and more on two other key issues.

As Mayor David Henderson has said, salaries will go up whether we keep our current police force or go OPP. What's more relevant is whether savings on what the mayor calls "overhead" (admin costs, capital costs and the like) will offset future increases in wages.

The second issue is loss of local control over the police force, which is going to happen if our men and women in blue change badges. We will have to decide, as a community, whether the savings are worth that loss of control. This is not a financial debate, but a philosophical one.

Of course, none of these debates will happen if council decides tonight to vote down the costing request.

I'd like to say the odds of that happening are as slim as the odds for the Leafs winning the Stanley Cup. But I've been proven wrong before -- and I'm a Habs fan with more than a touch of superstition.