The board overseeing Chandler’s municipal parks last week unanimously endorsed submission of a letter to the City Council protesting what the board sees as draconian budget cuts for the parks  department.

The letter from the Chandler Parks and Recreation Board, written by former city manager and board member Lloyd Harrell, said the steep funding drop “is extremely destructive to Chandler’s park system.”

The council recently approved a five-year capital improvement plan that cut funding for the parks and recreation system to $1.5 million in 2011, down from $2.5 million in 2010 and $11 million in 2009.

Under the proposal, the parks would see lower funding levels through 2015.

The new plan reduces funding for parks preservation from the current $1 million to $350,000 a year.

The council also voted to delay development of a planned 80-acre park expansion and instead lease the land for farming.

If the cuts are not reversed, Harrell said, Chandler will see a “slow decline of a premier system into a mediocre system at best.”

The Phoenix suburb’s debt is rated ­triple-A by all three rating agencies.

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