OLYMPIA, Wash. - Officials in Olympia are seeking a private contractor to clean up homeless camps.

The Olympian reports that the Olympia City Council accepted applications through Thursday and is expected to approve a contract by Dec. 6.

Officials are looking for a company with trained staff and proper protective gear as human waste and dirty needles will likely be encountered.

The one-year contract caps city spending at $299,000.

City spokeswoman Kellie Braseth says the city doesn't target homeless camps but has a responsibility to act when the camps trigger public health or safety concerns.

City officials decided to go with a private contractor after a tire on a city vehicle was slashed while a probation crew of inmates doing community service cleared debris from a campsite in September.