Karen Shuler will serve as Milton Township's trustee for the remainder of the year.

Shuler, a longtime Milton Township resident, was appointed by a Jefferson County Democratic Party caucus and sworn into office Tuesday.

She replaces Tammy Stewart, who resigned in March. Stewart, elected in 2010, left the trustee's office with no spending authority for this year after state records showed she failed to submit a budget for two consecutive years.

The chief function of a trustee is to disburse money for resident assistance and the township's fire department - Brooksburg/Milton Township Fire & Rescue. About one-third of the department's budget comes from the township fund.

The money has been allocated and the township tax levy was approved by the state but no funds can be spent until a budget is presented and passed. The process includes reviewing the budget with the County Council and then filing for an additional appropriation through the state.

Shuler is not on the primary ballot, meaning her term will expire at the end of the year. She said her first order of business will be to address the budget issue, reinstate the township's spending authority and pay the fire department its annual amount.

"That's my focus," she said.

She plans to meet with Stewart later this week to take over the township accounts.

Shuler has never held public office but said she was "excited to serve" the community.

"It's not something I've taken on lightly," she said.