Exxon offers compensation to Mayflower homeowners

MAYFLOWER (KATV) - Exxon is ready to pay residents affected by last month's oil spill.

The company scheduled one-on-one meetings with homeowners to discuss their options - including a check for $10,000 for the inconvenience caused by the spill. Some residents Channel 7 News spoke with said they can't wait to take what's being offered and un. Others, though, were ready to take the offer and stay.

Gary Adkins has lived in the North Woods subdivision for five years. His disability payments haven't come yet but a $10,000 check from Exxon will, if he accepts the deal.

"My doctor won't let me go back to work," Adkins said, "so, yeah, it would be a great help to us."

All households in the 60 lot subdivision are eligible for the payment. All ExxonMobil would say is that it will buy the houses from anyone who wants to move within the next three years and has a hard time finding a traditional buyer.

While some Channel 7 News spoke with can't wait to get out, not everyone's ready to go.

"We like the neighborhood," said Adkins. "It's a real good neighborhood. It's quiet. We love it here - a little small town. We just love it here."

For those with one foot out the door, Exxon said the value of their homes would be appraised at their value before the oil spill.

Little Rock-based appraiser Tom Ferstel said, "That's not a bad offer at all, assuming that they get fair appraisals....If Exxon is gonna do this and, again, the appraiser that's brought in isn't someone who's beholden to Exxon, I think they have to certainly think about it."

According to Ferstel, this is an unusually good offer, saying it makes local appraisers' jobs much easier.

Even with the offer, Adkins said he sees himself living in North Woods for another five years - so long as ExxonMobil lives up to their promises.

"They've guaranteed us that there's nothing that we should have to worry about, so we're hoping that that's the truth."

While residents consider ExxonMobil's offer, repair crews replaced parts of the ruptured pipeline they removed Monday.