Worker's compensation insurance is a vital part of city operations, protecting both the employer and the employee, Lunda Asmani, assistant city manager for budget and finance, reported during a special presentation at Tuesday's City Commission meeting.

Asmani received a request to provide an overview of the city's worker's compensation policy. The city pays premiums that cover injuries that occur while employees are carrying out job duties.

"Worker's compensation is a required insurance plan that every employer must have," he said. "... When an employee does get injured, you don't have unbudgeted or unexpected expenses."

An employee cannot be fired, demoted or discriminated against for filing a claim "in good faith."

"Our goal is to maximize the outcome and manage medical care for our employees," Asmani said.

Accident prevention programs can lead to discounted premiums. For example, the city receives a 5 percent discount for having a workplace safety program.

"That allows us to keep our premiums low," Asmani said.

Other business

Commissioners heard about the latest issue of the "Outlook," a community newsletter that soon will be mailed out to residents in zip code 67114, about 10,000 homes and businesses total. The newsletter features stories on the Rec Center and the sewer plant upgrade.

"It's a good way to give a snapshot of some of the most important projects," said Public Information Officer Erin McDaniel.

She also reported the city's website, www.newtonkansas.com, received about 139,000 visits in 2013. Community members can use the site to sign up for eNews updates.

Commissioners also received an artwork donation from Virgil Penner, featuring a depiction of the city's well-known water tower.